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Do you ever wonder what pain actually is?


In the following minutes you will discover some new aspects of the complexity of pain. A very modern way trying to understand the origin of pain is the Mature Organism Model (MOM).This modern thinking model grasps pain processing in a more complex context so that besides the medical report of your body different factors like your personality and social environment come into account. But why is this especially important for you? Simply because the more you know and understand about the origin of pain and your own potential to influence, the better you will be able to cope with pain during your daily life.

The first step of percepting pain is dependent on the input mechanisms. For example cutting your finger causes pain because the damaged tissue informs you about the state of your body/tissue and your environment. After the signals are sent off by the damaged tissue processing mechanisms in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) start. And because pain is also an emotional experience, affective (e.g. fear, helplessness, anger) and cognitive (e.g. thoughts, views, knowledge) dimensions may influence the pain processing in the brain. Therefore, maladaptive processing can lead to pain although the damage already healed. This means that for example if you are very stressed because of a heavy workload and your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you AND additionally you bruised your arm during a fall can lead to intensified or persistent pain.

The last step is how your body reacts on the pain, so-called output-mechanisms. This is expressed motoric (e.g. changes in the tonus of the musculature), autonomous (e.g. alterations in the vegetative nervous system) and neuroendocrine (e.g. permanent distribution of stress hormones). Now you have heard about the basic mechanisms causing and/or influencing “pain”. Take a moment and reflect your feelings connected to pain…can you imagine why?