Chronic pain explained

Brain and Mind 1 (2):155-179 (2000)
Pains that persist long after damaged tissue hasrecovered remain a perplexing phenomenon. Theseso-called chronic pains serve no useful function foran organism and, given its disabling effects, mighteven be considered maladaptive. However, a remarkablesimilarity exists between the neural bases thatunderlie the hallmark symptoms of chronic pain andthose that subserve learning and memory. Bothphenomena, wind-up in the pain literature andlong-term potentiation (LTP) in the learning andmemory literature, are forms of neuroplasticity inwhich increased neural activity leads to a longlasting increase in the excitability of neuronsthrough structural modifications at pre- andpost-synaptic sites. Moreover, the synapticmodifications of wind-up and LTP share a commonmechanism: a glutamate N -methyl-D-aspartate(NMDA) receptor interaction that initiates a calciummediated biochemical cascade that ultimately enhancessignal processing at the -amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionic acid (AMPA) receptor. This paper arguesthat chronic pain, which has no adaptive value, canbe accounted for in terms of the highly adaptivephenomenon of activity-dependent neural plasticity;hence, some cases of chronic pain can beconceptualized as a memory trace in spinal neurons.
Keywords acupuncture  chronic pain  evolutionary psychology  long-term potentiation  long-term depression  neuroplasticity  nociception  phantom pain  TENS  wind-up
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1010032508495
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,479
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Zack Robinson, Corey J. Maley & Gualtiero Piccinini (2015). Is Consciousness a Spandrel? Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):365--383.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Daniel S. Goldberg (2010). Job and the Stigmatization of Chronic Pain. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (3):425-438.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

22 ( #214,162 of 1,925,795 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,704 of 1,925,795 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.