Nociceptors send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Once this signal arrives at the brain, it will mix with present thoughts, beliefs, emotions, sensations, memories, the environment and the context. This complex assessment of information determines whether there is a threat to a part of your body. If it determines that we need protecting, pain is the output – the thing we will experience.
The spinal cord and brain may amplify or dampen the signals along the way which can also contribute to your pain experience. As you can see, pain is more complex than simply what is happening in your tissues.
“Pain is the end result. Pain is an output from the brain, designed to protect you. It is not something that comes from your tissues”. Professor Lorimer Moseley
Your nervous system can become too protective, and start producing unnecessary warning signals.
The way you have interpreted your pain can actually affect the amount of pain that you feel as well as your behaviour because of pain. We now know from many studies that if you have learned that your pain represents a serious threat to your body, your brain responds by amplifying pain by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Research also tells us that when you learn that the cause of your pain is not dangerous, the brain will dampen the experience of pain by releasing natural pain relieving chemicals.
Find out more about persistent pain by watching the link below or working through the retrain pain resource.