Each of us is in pain from time to time. But we don't often think about what it is and how many types of pain there are in principle. It turns out that there are only two main types of pain known as nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Despite the knowledge and classification of pain, there is no effective treatment method today. This is especially true for chronic neuropathic pain. A study was recently published, the results of which indicate a real breakthrough in the treatment of pain. The method used by scientists is able to relieve pain without side effects.
1 What is nociceptive pain?
2 What is neuropathic pain?
3 What is psychogenic pain?
4 What are acute, chronic or breakthrough pain?
5 How can stem cells heal pain?
What is nociceptive pain?
Nociceptive or physiological pain is caused by the activation of nociceptors in the body – activity in the sensitive fibers of the peripheral and central nervous system – harmful or potentially harmful stimuli. The activation of these receptors leads to the influence and distribution of nerve messages on the central nervous system and the brain. The physiological type of pain is a normal reaction of the body to possible damage and serves to protect against emerging dangers. Such pain can be acute or chronic, depending on the case and cause.
Scientists classify physical pain into two subtypes – somatic and visceral pain. Somatic physical pain occurs due to the activation of pain receptors located on the surface of the body or in the musculoskeletal tissue. This type of pain is usually localized in a specific area and often increases with physical activity, but subsides when at rest.
Visceral pain is pain that arises from the activation of pain receptors in the internal organs. This type of pain is usually described as a feeling of deep pressure that is not localized at any point in the body.
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What is neuropathic pain?
Unlike physical pain, neuropathic pain is caused by damage to neurons that are involved in the propagation of electrical signals that send pain messages from receptors to the brain. The main difference is the appearance of pain that is not due to physical damage. This type of pain is usually described as sharp, stinging pain, which is often very intense. There are various causes of nerve damage and the resultant neuropathic pain, including infections, diabetes, or certain types of surgery.
What is psychogenic pain?
This unofficial term is sometimes used to describe pain associated with some mental disorders. Psychogenic pain is when a person suffers from anxiety, depression or severe stress, which can have a negative effect on the body in the future and even cause pain.
What is acute, chronic, or breakthrough pain?
In addition to physical and neuropathic pain, there is a method to classify the type of pain based on its duration. So, exude acute, chronic or breakthrough pain. According to researchers, acute pain is a normal and temporary reaction of the body that warns the body of the injury. Chronic pain is often defined as pain in the body that lasts for 12 weeks or longer. Breakthrough pain is an episode of acute pain that occurs when taking pain relievers to treat chronic pain.
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How can stem cells heal pain?
Recently, scientists developed the first method of treating pain with human stem cells that can alleviate chronic pain in mice in the long term. The result is achieved in one step and has no side effects. As researchers write in an article published in the journal Pain, successful treatment of humans could be an important breakthrough in the development of new, non-opiate and non-addictive drugs. Keep in mind that there are still no effective treatments for pain, especially for destructive neuropathic pain caused by nerve injuries.
The study used human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from bone marrow to produce anesthetic cells in the laboratory. IPSCs are cells that can develop into different types of body cells at an early age and during growth. At work, the scientists inserted iPSCs into the spinal cord of mice suffering from neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage or disease. According to the authors of the study, stem cell neurons contributed to long-term pain relief without side effects.
Because researchers can choose where to place pain relievers, they can only affect parts of the body that "experience" pain. The researchers found that the stem cells used were taken from adult blood samples. The next step for the scientists will be to perform safety tests on rodents and pigs. Scientists will begin researching humans over the next five years.