Helms, Jennifer E., and Claudia P. Barone. “Physiology and Treatment of Pain.” Critical Care Nurse Journal. 2011. Accessed 1st April 2013. http://ccn.aacnjournals.org/content/28/6/38.full
Physiology and treatment of pain
This article deals with whether or not men or women experience the same amount of pain and if younger and older people experience the same amount of pain as well. Experiencing pain can be caused by any physical injury or any discomfort in physical well-being such as headaches. It must be noted however, that every pain is different and each experience of pain is different to each individuals and shows the person’s physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive makeup. Pain is experienced due to stimuli in the body alarming the body that it is in harm or danger.
This stimulus is provided by nerves. When these impulses are stimulated, they send messages to the brain or spinal cord via nerve impulses so the body could react to stay out of danger or to know that an injury has occurred (Descartes, 1644). Central summation can be defined as the transferring of a lump sum of messages from the affected area, to the spinal cord. The detection involves the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and nerve impulses. The perception if pain is explained by the gate theory proposed by Melzack in 1965. This explains that mechanisms within the brain controls the amount of nerve impulses reaches the brain from the peripheral fibers to the central nervous system. A closed gate allows less impulses hence less pain is experienced and an open gate allows more impulses, hence more pain is experienced. In 1999 however he explained of the body-self neuromatrix, which explains each person having a unique genetic makeup and matrix of neurons which allows them to experience pain differently. This may give difference in pain experiences between men, women, the elderly and the younger children.
With sex based differences, women report pain experiences more frequently than men and have lower thresholds or pain tolerance. This may be because of difference in muscle tone, difference in brain and spinal cord make up, genetic, roles in society, sex hormones and neuron matrix make up and stress. Studies have shown that brain activity between men and women differ during painful experience but remain the same when normal. This showed that difference in sex played a role in pain experiences, although findings were not clear. In children, it was believed that an infant undeveloped nervous system will cause them to experience less pain but this is not true. A child with experienced pain, will have a greater pain perception than a child that does not have the same experience, hence the child would be more tolerable to that pain. Older people may experience different pain as they get older. This is because elderly rely on second pain or slow C fibers and may describe pain as burning whereas younger children rely on fast A fibres and may describe pain as sharp or pricking. Elderly also show a slower reaction time to pain. This may be because as ageing occur, communication skills, cognitive abilities and other physical abilities such as reflexes to pain may be impaired due to ageing. Pain may also be taken as something else besides pain such as delirium. Pain does not diminish with age as other senses. The tolerance for pain however grows as a person moves from infantry to adulthood. However with ageing pain may have a larger impact on a human as with age, physical well being of a person is reduce, such as skin becomes weaker therefore pain will be greater and damages could easily occur.
Pain does not diminish with age, but it can be more tolerable. Pain experiences between men and women differ due to physical attributes, genetic, social differences and environmental conditions and neuron matrix make up, but less is still known on this topic. Men are more tolerable to pain than women. Elderly have a longer reaction time to pain than younger people do. (Maybe this is why men are so heartless!!!!!)
Pain can also be of different types such as acute pain, which as a biological pain that is a biological process which indicates illness and injury, while chronic is the pain that occurs after an injury and occurs longer than expected healing time. Each human react differently to different types of injury and pain and therefore each individual is different and respond differently to pain.
This paper seemed to be very interesting. From the paper it was interesting to learn that pain does not diminish and that more is not known about why women are less tolerable to pain. The paper did give better understanding and knowledge about the topic presented as it gave a well outlined, organized article on pain and how it affects different people. It was interesting to learn about the different theories on the central nervous system presented by Descartes and Melzack. The paper provided good information about pain and how pain affects different people. One done! Only one more to go! 😀