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Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process.[1]

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage."[2] It is important to note that pain is subjective in nature and is defined by the person experiencing it, and the medical community's understanding of chronic pain now includes the impact that the mind has in processing and interpreting pain signals.

The anatomy of the nociceptive system can be grossly divided into the peripheral and central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of small myelinated and unmyelinated nerve fibers. These nerve fibers converge into a region of the spinal cord referred to as the dorsal horn. The dorsal horn is the first relay station in pain signal transmission. The next element of pain transmission includes nerve fibers that then travel to the thalamus. From the thalamus the next order of neurons ascend to the limbic system and sensory cortex. This accounts for the affective elements and discriminative of pain respectively.[3][4]


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chronic pain".