How does your brain respond to pain? – Karen D. Davis


Translator: Jessica Ruby
Reviewer: Caroline Cristal Let’s say that it would take you
ten minutes to solve this puzzle. How long would it take if you received constant
electric shocks to your hands? Longer, right? Because the pain would distract
you from the task. Well, maybe not; it depends on how you handle pain. Some people are distracted by pain. It takes them longer to complete a task,
and they do it less well. Other people use tasks to distract
themselves from pain, and those people actually do the task faster and better when they’re in pain than when they’re not. Some people can just send
their mind wandering to distract themselves from pain. How can different people be subjected to the exact
same painful stimulus and yet experience
the pain so differently? And why does this matter? First of all, what is pain? Pain is an unpleasant sensory
and emotional experience, associated with actual
or potential tissue damage. Pain is something we experience, so it’s best measured
by what you say it is. Pain has an intensity; you can describe it on a scale from zero, no pain, to ten,
the most pain imaginable. But pain also has a character, like sharp, dull, burning, or aching. What exactly creates these
perceptions of pain? Well, when you get hurt, special tissue damage-sensing nerve cells, called nociceptors, fire and send signals to the spinal cord
and then up to the brain. Processing work gets done
by cells called neurons and glia. This is your Grey matter. And brain superhighways carry information
as electrical impulses from one area to another. This is your white matter. The superhighway that carries
pain information from the spinal cord to the brain is our sensing pathway that ends in the cortex, a part of the brain
that decides what to do with the pain signal. Another system
of interconnected brain cells called the salience network decides what to pay attention to. Since pain can have serious consequences, the pain signal immediately activates
the salience network. Now, you’re paying attention. The brain also responds to the pain and has to cope with these pain signals. So, motor pathways are activated to take your hand off
a hot stove, for example. But modulation networks are also activated that deliver endorphins and enkephalins, chemicals released when you’re in pain
or during extreme exercise, creating the runner’s high. These chemical systems help
regulate and reduce pain. All these networks
and pathways work together to create your pain experience, to prevent further tissue damage, and help you to cope with pain. This system is similar for everyone, but the sensitivity and efficacy
of these brain circuits determines how much
you feel and cope with pain. This is why some people have
greater pain than others and why some develop chronic pain that does not respond to treatment, while others respond well. Variability in pain sensitivities is not so different
than all kinds of variability in responses to other stimuli. Like how some people love roller coasters, but other people suffer
from terrible motion sickness. Why does it matter
that there is variability in our pain brain circuits? Well, there are many treatments for pain, targeting different systems. For mild pain,
non-prescription medications can act on cells
where the pain signals start. Other stronger pain
medicines and anesthetics work by reducing the activity
in pain-sensing circuits or boosting our coping
system, or endorphins. Some people can cope with pain
using methods that involve distraction, relaxation, meditation, yoga, or strategies that can be taught,
like cognitive behavioral therapy. For some people who suffer
from severe chronic pain, that is pain that doesn’t go away months after their injury
should have healed, none of the regular treatments work. Traditionally, medical
science has been about testing treatments on large groups to determine what would help
a majority of patients. But this has usually left out some who didn’t benefit from the treatment or experienced side effects. Now, new treatments that directly
stimulate or block certain pain-sensing attention
or modulation networks are being developed, along with ways to tailor them
to individual patients, using tools like magnetic
resonance imaging to map brain pathways. Figuring out how your brain
responds to pain is the key to finding
the best treatment for you. That’s true personalized medicine.

100 thoughts on “How does your brain respond to pain? – Karen D. Davis”

  1. I live with chronic pain ( turned 23 a couple weeks ago) and this new pain dr doesn't wanna help me by giving me my pain meds. I see him today. I wouldn't be on these or go through all those painful procedures if I didn't have pain. He told me to deal with it. I broke my hip 2 days before my 14th bday and didn't heal right, and now I have chronic pain. I wish he would tell every pain patient of his to just "deal with it".

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    side effects may include skin turning red, a form of depression or in sercious cases turning into a werewolf

  3. What is pain?

    Me : Pain is the shinobi that formerly lead the Akatsuki before dying from the strain of bringing dead people back to life. To sum it up, Pain is a human.

    Hohohoho.. jking

  4. Meh:Hit by pillow
    Oof:Slapped In The Face
    Ouch:Pin on your hand
    Why!?!?:A large wound
    See a doctor:Near death
    Death:Stepping on a lego

  5. my pain was simple: open multiple nerves on tooth that doctors was afraid to anything about and i was on constant redirection to different specialists. it just stopped on some point. why could that happened? and i never feel pain again on those tooth. i think two options: nerve died ; brain adapted to pain and started ignoring this specific one;miracle(not an option) xD

  6. Usually when i fight and some one punches my face, stomach, legs, etc
    I laugh for no reason and don't fall, stop i mean i feel the hit but it makes me laugh not feel pain for some reason.
    Why is that ?

  7. Thanks for this video! It was really cool to learn this. Can you do a video about how you can get a headache? You know the ones that just happen but there is no simple reason they are there?

  8. For some reason, even the smallest of any pressure causes me pain and i can't ignore it, and multiple spots where I've gotten injured months and years ago still hurt, even though they have healed…. What is wrong with me?…..

  9. I got punched I though about my friend getting bullied I felt nothing. when you in a fight dont think about that pain distract yourself by thinking who you doing this for or like your favorite stuff to do. It works I tried it.

  10. Whenever I feel pain I tend to laugh for some reason, I assume it's to release Endorphins into my body and counter it

  11. when i was young i didnt eat enough for lunch and had stomach aches everyday. stomach pain now is just eh. broken arm is quite similar, but my break was small
    i likely have reflux or ulcers now though.

  12. – stabbed myself with a nail by accident and bleeds-
    Me: it doesn’t hurt
    -gets a stomach ache –
    Me: PLEASE STOPPPPPP

  13. I get kick on the face and laugh it off or just stay silent becouse i just think its a sense when painfull like cleaning a wound

  14. Depends on the pain. Major cuts (sheet metal half to a full inch in the arm), broken bones (ankle and detached tendon i thought was a sprain as I don't bruise much), constant minor cuts unnoticed, or this past week a large chuck of skin scraped off my ankle that was noticed mid-healing. But a headache, migraine, or stiff/sore finger joints – it's like a red light blinking directly in front of my face. Cannot be ignored.

  15. People think I’m weird but I realized your brain just says the “pain” is bad but you can make it not feel bad if you train your mind so I don’t mine pain

  16. This is your brain 🧠. This is your brain on pain,

    👇 Press here to see how Many people hate these kinds of comments begging for life.

  17. You almost got it right…. There is no such thing as a pain signal that makes it to the brain. It's actually a danger signal, and the brain determines if it is pain or not.

  18. Pain is actually about soul and it’s dam harder to explain
    And the best way to kill pain is telekinesis!!

    Bdw 2040

  19. Can you tell me why this happens? Me: starts picking at my thumb Thumb: starts bleeding Me: does not feel any pain Me: Looks at my thumb and realises that it’s bleeding then the thumb starts hurting

  20. Here’s a little experiment: pinch yourself where you get hurt a lot then pinch yourself in a place where you don’t get hurt that much

  21. "When you get hurt, special tissiue damage sensing nerve cells called nociceptors, fire"

    Me: imagines nociceptors fiering little shotguns while screaming in agony that makes sense.

  22. Pain? Animals when dead can't feel pain . example: when you eat a beef of a cow does it feel pain? comment below for ted ed!!!

  23. does that guy in first min looks good? I don't know
    pain level two eat a poop will make you hurt you mouth
    be careful with the poops

  24. I'm watching this in pain hoping to educate my brain on how to solve this incredible pain that is giving me a deep migraine which slowly should turn me insane so I shall not claim my pain is worse than the rain

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