New insights into the mechanism of neuropathic pain

Chronic pain affects nearly millions of Canadians from such varied causes as arthritis, sciatica, cancer, diabetes. Pain usually serves to warn us when something is wrong and to seek help or to rest.

Another kind of chronic pain may start with a specific injury, surgery or disease event, but may linger for weeks or even years beyond any useful protective function. Such events range from shingles to open-heart surgery where up to half the patients suffer long-term pain, breast removal (sometimes even lumpectomies), or – in the most drastic cases, spinal injury or amputation.

Many of our listeners have called about such neuropathic pain and what can be done to treat it. Understanding why this occurs is integral to the development of new treatments and therapies.

New research from the University of Alberta appearing in the Journal of Neurophysiology reported that the place to look is between the nerves that are producing the pain and the spine, rather than from the spine to the brain

  • Dr. Peter Smith, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, at the University of Alberta and senior author of the study.

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