ME/CFS AUSTRALIA (SA) INC
Registered Charity 698
PO Box 28,
South Australia 5007
Closed while relocating
1300 128 339
ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.
ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc aims to keep members informed of the various research projects, diets, medications, therapies etc. All communication, both verbal and written, is merely to disseminate information and not to make recommendations or directives.
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New culprits in chronic pain
Sunday 27 December 2009
New Culprits in Chronic Pain (Preview)
Glia are nervous system caretakers whose nurturing can go too far. Taming them holds promise for alleviating pain that current medications cannot ease.
Helen's left foot slipped off the clutch on impact, twisting her ankle against the car's floorboard. It felt like a minor sprain at the time, she recalls, but the pain never subsided. Instead it intensified. Eventually, the slightest touch, even the gentle brush of bed linen, shot electric flames up her leg. "I was in so much pain I could not speak, yet inside I was screaming," wrote the young Englishwoman in an online journal of the mysterious condition that would torment her for the next three years.
The chronic pain suffered by people like Helen is different from the warning slap of acute pain. Acute pain is the body's most alarming, intense sensation, whose purpose is to stop us from further injuring ourselves. This type of pain is also called pathological pain because an external cause, such as tissue damage, produces the signals that travel the nervous system to the brain, where they are perceived as pain. But imagine if the gut-wrenching agony of a real injury never stopped, even after the wound healed, or if everyday sensations became excruciating: "I was unable to shower ... the water felt like daggers," Helen remembers. "The vibrations in a car, someone walking across floorboards, people talking, a gentle breeze … would set off the uncontrollable pain. Common painkillers ... even morphine had no effect. It was like my mind was playing tricks on me."
The article originally appeared here.
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