When nothing hurts - analgesia and hypoalgesia

Chronic pain patients often wish for nothing more than a day without discomfort. "For them, it is a constant suffering, which is often associated with crises and little zest for life, " describes Dr. Wolfgang Sohn, pain therapist and advisory board of the German Green Cross eV in Marburg, the problem, but who thinks right: Without Pain would be nothing to the life.This painful experience make few, but it hits them very hard.


People who are born with innate pain insensitivity have a scarred skin even in preschool age. "Constant injuries occur because they do not feel anything - no blow, no burns, no cuts", explains the Kempener pain expert. When romping, the children know no limits. Broken bones are the order of the day, mutilations are not uncommon. "Even more dangerous are externally unrecognizable injuries or, for example, appendicitis, " says Sohn. There are no warning signals. Any help can come too late here.

In addition to the innate pain insensitivity, also called congenital analgesia, there are also acquired forms. "Neuropathies, ie disorders of the nervous system, or an infection with the leprosy bacterium - not uncommon in developing countries - can also greatly affect the sensation of pain, " the expert knows. The nerves die or insufficiently forward the stimulus formation. "Here, too, there is the danger of no longer feeling injuries, " continued Son.


In contrast to analgesia, ie the complete lack of pain sensations, there is also the state of hypoalgesia. "Hypoalgesia is a transient phenomenon, " says the pain expert. The pain sensation is only diminished. This is caused by physical stress, such as intensive physical activity or childbirth.
"The stress is likely to activate central pain-relieving mechanisms, " explains Sohn.

The irritation of certain nerves in the muscles triggers a whole series of physical reactions, including the release of hormones. Although the exact process has not yet been clarified, studies have shown that after physical exertion the pain threshold on fingers and teeth was increased. "Hypoalgesia, in contrast to analgesia, but a body protective function to exercise, " says son.


There is no treatment option for analgesia. Hypoalgesia is not in need of treatment. About one hour after exercise, the symptoms disappear on their own. "Possibly, however, come from the study of hypoalgesia interesting approaches for the treatment of pain patients, " hopes the pain specialist. The activation of the body's own pain brakes is an important co-factor in the treatment of chronic pain.

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