The classical theory of pain as a simple sensation with defined pathways, the
Descartean theory, has been largely discarded. The work of Melzac and Wall in
clarifying the model of pain based on ‘The Gate Theory’ now forms the basis of
our understanding of pain mechanisms.
Many parts of the body are involved in the feeling of pain.
Peripheral mechanisms help us understand what happens in the body tissues when they are injured
and how they respond to long term damage.
The spinal cord affects the processing of the information from damaged tissues and is an important
processing area which can worsen and maintain chronic pain.
The brain itself changes significantly in chronic pain conditions to further maintain the pain, to affect our
moods, the way we interact in life and to sometimes make pain difficult to treat. People with pain may
often be helped by helping them to control their pain responses and reduce the degree of pain disability.
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