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The physiology of acute pain 

The physiology of acute pain
Chapter:
The physiology of acute pain
Author(s):

Lesley Bromley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199234721.003.0001
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date: 14 November 2019

Acute pain as a result of tissue damage is self-limiting.

Impulses are generated in primary sensory nerves by chemical mediators released from the damaged tissues.

The spinal cord receives these impulses in the dorsal horn.

At the level of the spinal cord, the impulses can be amplified or reduced in amplitude by descending inputs.

At the level of the spinal cord, the representation of the painful area and the sensitivity of other, surrounding areas can be modified.

At the level of the brainstem and thalamus, further modification can take place.

The final perception of the pain can be modified by other central phenomena such as anxiety and fear.

New imaging techniques have allowed a greater understanding of cortical representation of pain.

The role of the glia in maintaining painful states is evolving.

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