Pain is a complex sensation. They are caused by the activation of pain receptors (nociceptors). These are located in all pain-sensitive tissues and are activated in case of (potential) tissue damage.

They then transmit the information via the spinal cord to the brain. There the information is processed and perceived as pain. Mostly, pain is a symptom that occurs in connection with certain diseases or injuries. Sometimes, however, pain is also the focus of the clinical picture, as in chronic pain syndrome, for example.

Why is there pain?

This question can be answered quite easily. Even if pain is often unpleasant and sometimes hard to bear, it fulfils a vital function for the human body. They protect the body from serious injuries.

Anyone who has ever touched a hot stove plate immediately understands the connection. Pain is a warning signal, it protects the body from further tissue damage. This applies at least to acute pain.

In the case with the hotplate, the pain is directly processed in the reflex arc at the spinal cord level. This triggers a motor response, the hand is pulled back. We only become aware of the pain and this action afterwards. Therefore it is vital for the body to feel pain and to be able to react accordingly. This applies to all living beings.

What does pain mean?

Pain in its acute form has a vital importance for the body. It indicates (potential) tissue damage, to which the central nervous system can then react. Therefore, pain is often seen as a warning signal.

However, pain can also have a different meaning. If the pain loses its function as a warning signal and occurs for more than 3 to 6 months without acute cause, it is called a chronic pain syndrome. Here, pain has its own disease value and is no longer just a symptom of a disease.

This always leads to psychological changes in the affected person and is a high burden also for the personal environment. In general, pain should always be taken seriously, especially if it persists over a longer period of time without a recognizable cause. In this case you should consult your family doctor for safety reasons.