5 interesting facts about pain
The global pain killer industry generates $ 50 billion in revenue per year. And this is despite the fact that people with chronic pain, ordinary medications do little to help, and drugs can be very addictive.
A review recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that researchers still do not know how to determine the most effective treatment for pain in each case. And in the knowledge base, from drugs to surgery, there are many gaps regarding the phenomenon of pain.
So what is pain?
The pain is felt when the brain receives signals from nerve endings. In turn, the brain reacts to pain, releasing natural painkillers – endorphins.
This is what science is known about pain reliably:
1. Scientists cannot explain what pain is.
When you feel pain, you know exactly what it is. But if scientists fully understood the mechanisms of action of pain – they could more effectively deal with it. Pain is defined as “a peculiar unpleasant sensation, as well as a reaction to this sensation.” Sometimes it is caused by visible damage, sometimes it is caused by nerves that are not so easy to locate. The pain is too complex and it is impossible to create a precise definition. It is more than transmitting a signal from the nerve. Pain includes a whole range of emotions, cultural attitudes, experiences, spirit and sensations.
2. Chronic pain reduces the brain.
If you experience chronic pain, you probably know how hard its influence is physically and mentally. It can limit your actions and cause irritation for reasons completely incomprehensible to others. But this is only part of the effect. People with chronic back pain have a brain that is 11% smaller than healthy people. This fact was announced by scientists after research in 2004. Why this is so is unknown. Perhaps this is due to constant stress.
3. Migraines associated with sex.
Of course, the phrase “dear, my head hurts today” does not cancel it, but back in 2006, scientists proved that people suffering from migraine headaches have 20% more sexual desire than those who suffer from headaches due to pressure . Scientists suggest that sexual desire and migraines may be affected by the same substance in the brain. This could potentially lead to an improvement in treatment, at least in that part of the connection that concerns pain.
4. Women feel more pain.
Any man who has seen childbirth without anesthesia can swear that women are able to withstand anything. The truth is that in fact women feel such pain that men cannot even imagine. Women have more nerve receptors than men. A woman has 34 nerve fibers per square centimeter of skin, while a man has only 17. According to a 2005 study, women feel more pain in their lives, in more places and for a longer time than men.
5. Some animals do not feel pain.
Animal studies may well shed light on the pain experienced by man and give hints how to get rid of it. Here, for example, the naked digger (Heterocephalus glaber). This bald and practically blind underground dweller does not feel the pain of acid and bitter pepper. If scientists can establish why, they may well develop effective painkillers that work in such situations for people. But lobsters en feel pain completely. Even when they are boiled. They became another exception in the series of animals after a study conducted in 2005.