Pain and inflammation are related: systemic inflammation may lead to a variety of pain states, and, in turn, persistent pain causes an upward adjustment of proinflammatory mediators that sometimes elicit a prolonged low-grade immune response, leading to long-lasting, subclinical inflammation.
The cytokines that are produced during inflammatory responses are the main stimulators of the production of acute-phase proteins, specifically C-reactive protein (CRP).
C-reactive protein is a nonspecific systemic marker of infection, inflammation, tissue damage, malignancy, and autoimmune disease.
Currently available pain medications have limited efficacy and numerous side effects. New research, however, provides deeper insights into how our bodies process pain, paving the way for an innovative, more effective way of targeting chronic pain.
According to recent estimates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 25 million people in the United States live with daily pain, and 23 million of the country’s adults have more severe pain.
Previous efforts to develop more effective analgesics have been stalled by our limited understanding of the mechanisms that allow nerves to sense and transmit pain signals,” Dr. Bunnett says. Continue reading
A New Opioid Targets Active Sites of Inflammation to Relieve Pain – by Nathan T. Fried on 23 Mar 2017
Summary: NFEPP binds and activates mu-opioid receptors only at low pH, soothing pain in rats without typical side effects
Adverse effects of opioids can occur because the drugs act at both injured and healthy tissue, but if researchers could find a way to direct opioids only to the former and not the latter, perhaps the drugs would lack off-target activity.
Now, a new report reveals the design of a novel opioid that only works where inflammation exists, leaving healthy tissue untouched and avoiding the unwanted consequences seen with traditional drugs. Continue reading
Stanford scientists have identified a small group of neurons that communicates goings-on in the brain’s respiratory control center to the structure responsible for generating arousal throughout the brain.
Try it. Breathe slowly and smoothly. A pervasive sense of calm descends. Now breathe rapidly and frenetically. Tension mounts. Why?
It’s a question that has never been answered by science, until now.
In a new study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have identified a handful of nerve cells in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind. Continue reading
The “Missing Link” in the Physiology of Pain: Glial Cells – Practical Pain Management – May 2016
glial cells and their interactions have become recognized as having a critically important role in the generation and maintenance of acute and chronic pain… and may now be a “missing link” in our understanding of the conversion of acute to chronic pain and the development of chronic neuropathic pain
This conversion process has been called “chronification,” and includes
- central sensitization,
- neuroplastic changes,
- altered pain modulation, and
- changes to the “neuromatrix” of the central nervous system.
Neurohormones in Pain and Headache Management: New and Emerging Concepts – practicalpainmanagement.com – Feb 2017
The recent discovery and awareness that the central nervous system (CNS) makes specific hormones for intrinsic use in addition to those for peripheral use is a profound finding that is critical to clinical pain and headache management.
Some neurohormones provide the physiologic effects of neuroprotection and neurogenesis that are essential for pain reduction, prevention, and treatment.
Following is an attempt to provide an early status report on what we do (and don’t) know about the function of neurohormones relative to pain management. Continue reading
Mesolimbic dopamine signaling in acute and chronic pain: implications for motivation, analgesia, and addiction – Pain. 2016 Jun – free full-text PMC article
The mesolimbic dopamine system comprises neurons in the
- ventral tegmental area (VTA) and
- substantia nigra (SN),
projecting to the ventral striatum
This system was originally described to mediate pleasure and goal-directed movement associated with rewarding stimuli.
However, it is now clear that dopamine, although crucial for reward processing, drives not the hedonic experience of reward (“liking”) but rather the instrumental behavior of reward-driven actions (“wanting”) Continue reading
What chronic pain does to your brain – ABC News Australia – March 2016 – by Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis
At least one in five Australians lives with chronic pain, and often the cause is unknown. Scientists are just now discovering the crucial role the brain plays in how pain is experienced, and how it might pave the way for innovative treatment, write Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis.
‘At the moment we have focused our work to two areas in the brain,’ says Dr Sylvia Gustin from Neuroscience Research Australia. ‘One is called the thalamus—the other is the prefrontal cortex.’
Described as the ‘border in the brain’, the thalamus acts as the gateway between the spinal cord and higher brain centres. Continue reading
Your vagus nerve is critical to optimal health, no matter what your issues are.
An Intro To Your Brain’s Opioid System – September 2014 – by Joe Cohen
The brain opioid systems are known to play an important role in motivation, emotion, attachment behaviour, the response to stress and pain, and the control of food intake (R).
There are four opioid receptors in our brain:
- mu-opioid (MOR),
- kappa-opioid (KOR),
- delta-opioid (DOR)
- nociceptin (NOP).
Increasing these receptors or the molecules that bind to them will produce an opioid high. Continue reading