Nerves are basically of two varieties: sensory, and motor. Sensory nerves transmit information from the body to the brain; motor nerves transmit signals from the brain to the muscles and glands. Basically, nerves are communication channels which make it possible us to move and to respond to the world in which we live.
Nerves and pain
Specialised sensory nerves called nociceptors activate in response to damaging or potentially damaging stimuli e.g. too much heat or cold, tissue damage, or chemical irritation. These nerves send messages to the spinal cord and the brain, which then allows the brain to assess whether the stimulus is going to cause harm to the body. If the stimulus is deemed harmful, or even potentially harmful, pain arises.
Sounds straight forward?
The experience of pain is not quite as simple as that. Our history of experiencing pain (previous injuries), our thoughts about pain (e.g. "good" or "bad" pain), and our current emotional state influence how we respond to messages sent by the nociceptors.
It's this last point which is important here - not all pain is the same, and each person will experience pain differently.
Osteopathy, nerves, and pain
Your osteopath understands the role of the nervous system in the experience of pain, and the many responses people have to pain. With this awareness treatments are adapted to best suit you, to effectively assist you back to pain-free functioning.
Up next: My Sensitive Nervous System part 2