Gains in Pain Research

©2003 Elsevier NEUROPATHIC PAIN MECHANISMS: Neuropathic pain can originate from peripheral or central nervous system damage. (A) Following injury, damaged nerves attempt to regenerate. This often leads to accumulated nerve sprouts, gliosis, and a buildup of white blood cells. (B) After nerve damage, prominent changes in the dorsal root ganglion and dorsal horn can be observed. Sympathetic innervation occurs as does increased crosstalk between nociceptive and nonnociceptive neurons. (C

Jill Adams
Dec 14, 2003
©2003 Elsevier
 NEUROPATHIC PAIN MECHANISMS: Neuropathic pain can originate from peripheral or central nervous system damage. (A) Following injury, damaged nerves attempt to regenerate. This often leads to accumulated nerve sprouts, gliosis, and a buildup of white blood cells. (B) After nerve damage, prominent changes in the dorsal root ganglion and dorsal horn can be observed. Sympathetic innervation occurs as does increased crosstalk between nociceptive and nonnociceptive neurons. (C) Neuropathic pain is associated with several distinct characteristics. There are often abnormal, unfamiliar, or unpleasant sensations called dysesthesias which include shooting, lacerating, or burning pains in the absence of tissue damage. Stimuli that are normally non-painful cause pain--a condition called allodynia. And some experience hyperalgesia, a condition where pain messages from a mildly painful event are greatly enhanced. (Reprinted from T. Dickinson et al., Trends Pharmacol Sci, 24:555-7, November 2003.)

When patients complain of pain, doctors reach for remedies on...