Pain and limbic system.
Pain is associated with emotional, behavioural and cognitive changes.
The central processor of pain is the limbic system.
The limbic system is a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus and supports a variety of functions including emotion behaviour, motivation, long-term memory and olfaction. It directly controls one's biological rhythms, which include the sleep-wake cycles, hormonal cycles, and stress cycles. The limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus.
The amygdala involved in pain and fear-related emotions. The amygdala is important for survival. Without amygdala we wouldn't fear harmful objects or situation.
The hypothalamus is fundamental for homeostasis and play the role in regulation of physiologic functions such as temperature regulation, hunger, sleep, sex drive and thirst. Releases hormones such as dopamine.
The thalamus plays an important role in human neurology by acting as the "relay centre" of incoming sensory input.
The patient's mood and motivation can impact their pain level.
Pain and Endocrine system.
Pain signals that reach the brain from any injury in the peripheral nervous system activate three releasing hormones in the hypothalamus including corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), gonadal (GRH), and thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). These 3 hormones cause the anterior pituitary to release into serum hormone. Adrenalin is also released from adrenal medulla.
Hormones provide immunologic anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties for cellular protection and healing.
If pain persists into a chronic state the hormonal system is unable to tolerate the stress of pain and hormone production may be decreased causing serum hormone levels to drop below normal. ( Tennant 2013)
Chronic cortisol abnormalities, when level are either too high or too low are the major hormonal problems in chronic pain patients. Cortisol serum levels rise and fall with emotion, exercise, nutrition and disease state. Another hormone to consider is estrogen.
Exercise is well known to positivity modify cortisol levels, and this activity is highly recommended in pain patients.
Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is key to keeping your hormones in check. The sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include: coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon. Dr. Axe
According to the research women suffer a disproportionate amount of pain during their lifetime compared to men. They concluded by saying that sex hormones influence on pain sensitivity, pain threshold and pain tolerance.
Practicing meditation or healing prayer can be extremely beneficial. Spending time outdoors, practicing yoga with deep breathing every day can reduce the pain and improve blood flow.
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