Evolution of the Neuromatrix Theory of Pain
In this classic paper written by one of the pioneers in the world of pain science, Ronald Melzack explains the neuromatrix theory of pain.This theory proposes that: ‘Pain is a multidimensional experience produced by characteristic neurosignature patterns of nerve impulses generated by a widely distributed neural network, the so called ‘body-self neuromatrix’ in the brain'.
The neuromatrix is determined by multiple influences and underlies the neural patterns generating pain. The four main components of this system:
1. The body self neuromatrix;
2. Cyclical processing and syntheses, which imparts the neurosignature;
3. A neural hub which tranduces the flow of neurosignatures into the flow of awareness;
4. Activation of an action neuromatrix.
The neuromatrix theory provides a theoretical framework in which the contributions of genetic, neuronal-hormonal, neural and sensory processes are all treated with an equal importance. This emphasizes the importance of an interdisciplinary (treatment) approach that addresses the many facets of chronic pain, which goes beyond the concept of a simple one-to-one relationship between injury and pain. > From: Melzack et al., Pain Pract 5 (2005) 85-94. All rights reserved to World Institute of Pain.
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