Pain Sensitization in the Spinal Cord

Scientists prove it’s true – the spinal cord gets into the act to maintain chronic pain.

The expe­ri­ence of chron­ic pain is more than the sum of its parts.

Chron­ic pain suf­fer­ers are famil­iar with the sce­nario:  Rever­ber­at­ing pain cir­cuits get acti­vat­ed in the brain and spinal cord.  Then you can’t get rid of pain just by heal­ing an injured joint or mus­cle – the pain has tak­en on a life of its own.

Now a research team led by Sean Mack­ey, MD, PhD at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty has found an ele­gant way to study this phe­nom­e­non — with func­tion­al mag­net­ic imag­ing of the spinal cord.

The research relies on the basic prin­ci­ple that areas of the spinal cord are orga­nized into func­tion­al group­ings.  In oth­er words, if you move your fin­gers, a clus­ter of neu­rons in a spe­cif­ic zone of the spinal cord gets acti­vat­ed to coor­di­nate the move­ment.

The team at Stan­ford was able to sen­si­tize the spinal cord in a group of vol­un­teers by repeat­ed­ly apply­ing heat to an area of the fore­arm.  Then, when these test sub­jects moved their fin­gers, the func­tion­al zone of the spinal cord that got acti­vat­ed had become much larg­er.  They weren’t in pain when the spinal cord imag­ing was being per­formed, yet the expe­ri­ence of pain had left its mark.  It was almost as if the nerves in the spine had lost some of their dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, becom­ing indis­crim­i­nate­ly linked togeth­er.

Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, spinal cord sen­si­ti­za­tion wasn’t affect­ing  just pain.  It had changed the way the spinal cord oper­at­ed in con­trol­ling move­ment, too.

The themes of this research are crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant to my work. 

Anal­gesics are designed to damp­en pain but they can’t touch the abnor­mal spinal cord sen­si­ti­za­tion that under­pins chron­ic pain.  On the oth­er hand, clin­i­cians who uti­lize man­u­al ther­a­py meth­ods have evi­dence that they can change the inter­nal state of the spinal cord.

This research shines light on the mode of action of chi­ro­prac­tic spinal adjust­ments and Neu­ro­Tac­tile Ther­a­py.  Each of these meth­ods feeds spe­cif­ic, seg­men­tal infor­ma­tion into the spinal cord with the poten­tial to influ­ence rever­ber­at­ing cir­cuit­ry.

______________________________________________

Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Nat­ur­al treat­ment of chron­ic pain and fibromyal­gia with Neu­ro­Tac­tile Ther­a­py

Chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments

Dr. Lavine and the nat­ur­al treat­ment of chron­ic pain

 

Share

About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.

This entry was posted in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pain Sensitization in the Spinal Cord

  1. George says:

    Can you cure me of pain on Mon­day?
    “The themes of this research are crit­i­cally impor­tant to my work.
    Anal­gesics are designed to damp­en pain but they can’t touch the abnor­mal spinal cord sen­si­ti­za­tion that under­pins chron­ic pain. On the oth­er hand, clin­i­cians who uti­lize man­ual ther­apy meth­ods believe they may be able to change the inter­nal state of the spinal cord.
    This research shines light on the mode of action of chi­ro­prac­tic spinal adjust­ments and Neu­ro­Tac­tile Ther­apy. Each of these meth­ods feeds spe­cific, seg­men­tal infor­ma­tion into the spinal cord with the poten­tial to influ­ence rever­ber­at­ing cir­cuit­ry.”

Comments are closed.