Peripheral Pain Reaction
(Workbook Page 20)
Refer to page 20 of the Neuroplastic Transformation workbook. Read the text beneath the graphic for an explanation of the peripheral reaction that occurs when skin sends pain rather than touch signals to the brain.
This animation shows local cells activating pain nerve endings. These send electrical signals to the spinal cord and brain, making and releasing Substance-P at nerve endings and back out to the area of injury. At nerve endings the pain map expands and more local nerve cells are recruited to transmit more pain. Meanwhile 80% of the manufactured Substance-P is sent back out to the injury site. There, along with other inflammatory substances, touch receptors in skin are recruited to send signals to incoming nerve cells, which go through a genetic change and make Substance-P. This is released at nerve terminals further spreading out the pain signal. Now nerves that do not normally transmit pain, also send pain signals to the brain. When nerves themselves are injured, a massive amount of Substance-P is release at nerve terminals.
There are a multitude of receptor types in the skin to process things such as touch, temperature, pressure, movement and pain. With ongoing pain, these receptors are recruited to be pain receptors, sending pain signals to the brain instead of their usual messages. The brain then reacts by making everything worse.
Skin is easily accessible. People can come up with multiple self-directed strategies for restoring normal sensations. Paying attention to the pain and identifying pain sensations versus other sensations can be extremely helpful. This allows the brain to use memory to reconnect to the variety of sensations, rather than interpreting everything as pain. The last part of the text on page 20 of the Neuroplastic Transformation workbook describes the use of gentle touch to restore normal skin sensations. Creating a soothing environment for the skin using vibration, gentle pressure, heat, cold and movement can be quite effective. Self-massage with moisturizing and therapeutic lotions creates soothing touch signals to counter-stimulate pain. The goal is to find a balance between soothing and stimulating the skin to restore comfort, function and harmony.