Central mechanisms of pain control: a survey

  • M. J. Millan
Conference paper


Pain is a subjective experience reflecting actual, assumed or potential tissue damage, variable in intensity and, in general, localizable in space and in time. It is comprised of not only a sensory/perceptive but also of an emotional/affective and cognitive/conscious component. Though of limited utility, such a characterization has the virtue of drawing attention to the complexity of pain and to the fact that it is a phenomenon which can be monitored from its inception in sensory nerve endings, via the spinal cord and brainstem, to the highest levels of the CNS, the limbic system and cortex. At each level of this hierarchy of processing and integration, mechanisms for its modulation are operative and each level offers the possibility of therapeutic intervention in pain control.


Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn Pain Control Sensory Nerve Ending Endogenous Opioid Peptide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Millan
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of NeuropharmacologyMax-Planck-Institut für PsychiatriePlanegg-MartinsriedGermany

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