Nociception is the reception and perception of pain, and it involves complex mechanisms. The mechanism(s) whereby the body detects, processes, and interprets pain and the biologically appropriate response involve a complex network of spinal and supraspinal structures. In response to pain, there is not only ascension of the signal but descending mechanisms that lead to both adaptive and potentially maladaptive effects. Mechanisms that lead to continued pain or its resolution are dependent not only on the roles of the anatomical structures themselves but also on the neural transmitters and vast array of receptors and second messenger systems. Intensity and duration of nociceptive stimuli play a key role in the processing and response to pain. Cognitive and emotional responses are affected and may influence subconscious processing under both normal and pathological states.
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