Understanding the Neuromatrix

In my last article, I highlighted chronic pain and gave an introduction to the “neuromatrix” .  I wanted to highlight just a couple of items regarding this idea.

  • Pain is a multiple system output that is activated by the pain neuromatrix
  • The pain neuromatrix is individual-specific. There is no single pain center in the brain and wide variability exists within individuals in which cortical areas are activated to produce pain.
  • The neuromatrix is activated when the brain perceives tissue is in danger and that action is required
  • Pain is experienced in the body image held by the brain, which is called the “virtual body” (this is why individuals will still experience pain in a limb which has been amputated). The virtual body is necessary for providing a neural substrate for allocating pain in an anatomical reference.
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