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Pain is an uncomfortable, unpleasant physical sensation as well as an emotional experience that occurs when tissues in the body are damaged.
The nervous system is made up of your brain, spinal cord and a network of nerves that run throughout your body. The brain is the control centre for your body.
There are several steps involved in feeling and reacting to pain:
The brain can change the way you feel pain. For example, parts of the brain that control our emotions can increase or decrease the sensation of pain. So if you’re anxious you may feel more pain, and if you’re relaxed you may feel less pain.
Sometimes the nerves carrying messages to and from the brain become ‘sensitised’ or ‘wound up’. This means that you continue to feel pain even when what was causing the pain has been treated.
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2011
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