This could not be further from factual science that is highly documented. There ARE multiple pain receptors, from somatic, cutaneous, visceral receptors. OF COURSE the brain receives the pain signals! How else would we perceive pain. Pain is simply an electrical impulse (the “pain impulse”) from the receptors that is activated (by heat, mechanically/ trauma etc., cold, hyperstimulation) through the spinothalamic tract in the anterior spinal cord, iplilaterally to the thalamus. The thalamus is commonly referred to as the “pain relay station,” because it seperates out the various sensations to communicate with the cortex and limbic system. The cortex perceives the pain, and the limbic system is the emotional center to “feel the pains effect.” In addition, there are multiple modulating centers in the spinal cord, brainstem, pons, and “peri-aqueductal grey” that is collectively known GATING THEORY OF PAIN. Some evidence of brains role in pain is that a stroke in the thalamus produces a famous syndrome in Neurology known as the Dejerine-Roussey syndrome of hemibody excruciating pain, even without an actual cause of pain in the body.

Pain is not exclusively “created by the brain.” Not sure who wrote this to you Boris, but this is highly amateurish and wouldn’t take much stock in it. The human body spends a great deal of energy, brain power, and a significant portion of the spinal cord, in order to monitor pain for protection. These pain signals are DESIGNED to be produced at or near the site of pain. AGAIN, the brain CAN produce pain on its own, but the design is meant to sense pain in the body for protection. An example of this is phantom limb pain. When a limb is cut off, the brain is unsure how to handle this and pain of the stump is perceived by the brain as in the phantom limb. This is because the brain WANTS to continue to receive SIGNAL FROM THE LIMB.

Board Certified in: Clinical Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology.

Here is one of typical responses from massage community to Dr. Barton’s letter:
Jason Erickson:

“What I disagree with is this: Your source is misusing basic terminology. He/She is mislabeling nociceptors as “pain receptors” and also mislabeling nociception as “pain”.

Also, this person is referring to the Gate Control Theory of Pain, not the Neuromatrix Theory of pain. My impression is that this person was Board certified a long time ago and has not updated their use of terminology to reflect changes in pain science.

I am glad that your source is at least partially aware of the brain’s role in creating pain.

Category: Medical Massage