The biochemical origin of pain – proposing a new law of pain: The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Part 1 of 3 – a unifying law of pain

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We are proposing a unifying theory or law of pain, which states: the origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. The biochemical mediators of inflammation include cytokines, neuropeptides, growth factors and neurotransmitters.

Irrespective of the type of pain whether it is acute or chronic pain, peripheral or central pain, nociceptive or neuropathic pain, the underlying origin is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Activation of pain receptors, transmission and modulation of pain signals, neuro plasticity and central sensitization are all one continuum of inflammation and the inflammatory response.

Irrespective of the characteristic of the pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling, all pain arises from inflammation and the inflammatory response. We are proposing a re-classification and treatment of pain syndromes based upon their inflammatory profile.

Treatment of pain syndromes should be based on these principles:

1. Determination of the inflammatory profile of the pain syndrome;

2. Inhibition or suppression of production of the appropriate inflammatory mediators, e.g. with inflammatory mediator blockers or surgical intervention where appropriate;

3. Inhibition or suppression of neuronal afferent and efferent (motor) transmission, e.g. with anti-seizure drugs or local anesthetic blocks;

4. Modulation of neuronal transmission, e.g. with opioid medication.

At the L.A. Pain Clinic, we have successfully treated a variety of pain syndromes by utilizing these principles. This theory of the biochemical origin of pain is compatible with, inclusive of, and unifies existing theories and knowledge of the mechanism of pain including the gate control theory, and theories of pre-emptive analgesia, windup and central sensitization.

Source: Medical Hypotheses. 2007;69(1):70-82. PMID: 17240081, by Omoigui S. Division of Inflammation and Pain Research, L.A. Pain Clinic, Los Angeles, California, USA. [E-mail:
medicinechief@aol.com ]
See also: “The biochemical origin of pain: The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Part 2 of 3 – Inflammatory profile of pain syndromes.”

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4 thoughts on “The biochemical origin of pain – proposing a new law of pain: The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Part 1 of 3 – a unifying law of pain”

  1. moonrose777 says:

    Newest Research is saying that FM is not an inflammatory illness. We don’t have redness or heat affecting the areas of pain so now here we have another confusing article saying it is inflammatory. How can those of use who are trying to be in charge of our treatment know which is true. I guess it just depends on the mood of the writer trying to make a name for themselves in the profession.

    1. musikmaker says:

      I agree with your comments. We are hearing this is not an inflammatory illness. It seems progress is being made but to much is still speculation/theory.

      I keep thinking of all the other symptoms besides pain that I struggle with. Many of these thought processes do not encompass the entire disease it seems.

    2. suemorr says:

      Maybe FM inflammation doesn’t materialize or present itself as RA or arthritis, etc. does. FM inflammation may be hidden, showing up in our brain instead of our body. The latest thinking is that FM is a brain dysfunction and fMRI’s have shown the difference between a “normal” brain and one with FM in pain tests. Pain shows up much faster in the brain of an FM patient, so maybe that’s the only place the inflammation shows?

  2. readhed says:

    I hear you. I’ve had FM for 27 years and all I can tell you is that anti-inflammatory medication has always helped me. I take sodium naproxin when I need to, and it often prevents a full-blown flare-up. I don’t care what the medical establishment (who also told me for 18 years that there was nothing wrong with me) thinks. There are other PWFM for whom anti-inflammatories are of no help. Until this disease is better understood, patients need to find a doctor who trusts us, or OTC medication that helps us.

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