Pain is truly one of sciences biggest challenges. Our acute pain response can serve to protect us, as in recoiling from an electric shock or hot surface. We are sensitive to acute pain and recoil before our brain even realizes it and this protective mechanism is a good thing. Some people are subject to debilitating chronic pain that seems to serve no purpose at all. Interestingly, there is no dedicated pain center in the brain, MRI research has shown a pain signal can surface almost anywhere in the brain and the same pain stimuli can show up in completely different part of brain. The signal does not travel through the hippocampus like our thoughts, therefore, pain cannot be stored as memory. This may be why pain of childbirth is not remembered as acutely and in turn, allows the mother to be willing to go through the process again.
Just below the skin we have pain receptors call nociceptors, it is thought theses nociceptors respond to thermal pain, chemical pain, and mechanical pain. The signals are then transmitted to the spinal cord via fast A-delta fibers and the slower C fibers. The A-delta fibers transmit the sharp initial pain of a needle stick or stubbed toe and the C fibers are responsible for the throbbing pain that lingers after.
Thankfully, nociceptors do not react to normal touch, those are conveyed through a separate set of nerves. A-delta fibers transmit at around 250 MPH, essentially instantaneous. The spinal cord can intercept these signals and reflexively cause a recoil before your brain can fully comprehend the situation.
A Few Different Types of Pain:
Acute Pain or Stimulated Pain: If you hit your thumb with a hammer or fall and strike you ribs you will be left with a persistent pain. This pain is considered “good” pain and is telling you to rest the affected area to give it time to heal.
Inflammatory Pain: Tissues in the body become swollen and inflamed from a response of white blood cells and the chemicals they release. This response causes are area to become painful, red, and often swollen. This can be caused by untreated causes of acute pain, irritant exposure, infection, or the inappropriate inflammatory response seen in autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Phantom Limb Pain: Perceived pain from an amputated limp may go on indefinitely and can be quite troubling. One theory suggests that the lack of signals from the missing limb causes the brain to interpret this as a severe injury and sends out an unending signal of distress that won’t turn off.
Dysfunctional Pain: In dysfunctional pain there is no inflammation, trauma, or external stimuli. The pain is without an obvious purpose. Fibromyalgia is the most recognized version of dysfunctional pain.
Neuropathic Pain: The result of damaged nerves that instead of shutting off like most systems that are broken, stay turned on, and becomes sensitive. Such is the case with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Cancer Pain: This pain becomes evident only after cancer has spread to an area that has pain fibers and by that time it is usually wide spread. It would be much better if we were designed to feel pain from early cancer but many internal organs do not possess traditional pain fibers.
Chronic Pain: This is pain that continues well beyond the time when acute pain should have resolved, some consider it a breakdown of the system. It’s a frustrating thing trying to figure out how to turn chronic pain off. The US Institute of Medicine states that 40% of adults in US experience chronic pain and 20% of those for more than 20 years. Chronic pain can be hugely debilitating, around 80% of chronic pain sufferers get no benefit from even the best medical treatment and those that do get relief don’t get much. Big Pharma now considers development of drugs to control pain a “pharmaceutical graveyard”. They have spent billions in development but as of yet there have been no drugs that control chronic pain effectively without detrimental side effects and addiction (see blog: Unpacking the Opioid Epidemic). There are however emerging techniques and therapies being used with good results in dealing with Chronic Pain. Things like Spinal Cord Stimulation, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation along with a carefully managed, non-narcotic, medication regimen are showing promise. In fact, here in Reno, Nevada an Urgent Care recently opened solely dedicated to the treatment of pain, unitedpainurgentcare.com.
At Lig and Ceptor we took a deep dive into the available literature and developed a plant-based formula that focuses on the modulation of inflammation, tuning down the broken chronic pain system, and altering the perception of pain. Utilizing current science and years of clinical experience, we tackled the pain issue by developing our plant-based Pain Formula. We included ingredients that are known to affect several different receptors involved in pain and the perception of pain. We believe we have developed an effective product that supports the body’s response to all types of pain. Early anecdotal evidence shows promise. If you are curious check out our Relieve: Pain Formula, review the ingredients, and learn why we chose them for our formulation. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.
Lanny Andrews M.D.