SMi Source Lesson Neurology: Pain Process

  • SMi Source lesson Neurology: Pain Process has the following microlearning topics

  • 1. Nociceptive Pain

    2. Classic Pain Pathway

    3. Primary Afferents

    4. Ascending Pathways

    5. Supraspinal Systems

    6. Modulation

    7. Primary Afferents

  • Lesson Neurology: Pain Process teaches these concepts

  • Anatomy and Physiology of Pain, Nociceptive Pain, Nociceptive Pain

    Anatomy and Physiology of Pain, Nociceptive Pain, Inflammation

    Anatomy and Physiology of Pain, Nociceptive Pain, Neuropathic Pain

    Anatomy and Physiology of Pain, Nociceptive Pain, Diverse Mechanisms

  • Lesson Neurology: Pain Process addresses these key points

  • Nociceptive Pain

    • Warning device in response to imminent damage
    • High-threshold sensory apparatus
    • Variable pain threshold affected by neural plasticity
      • Means by which changes in the nervous system can modulate the response to any stimulus
      • Occurs at all levels of the central nervous system


    • Multiple chemical mediators are released from damaged cells and inflammatory white blood cells
    • Inflammatory mediators may activate nociceptors
    • Inflammatory mediators may sensitize the nervous system
    • Sensitization enables easier activation of pain pathways
    • Sensitization can become maladaptive

    Neuropathic Pain

    • Pain which is initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system.
      • PNS = Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
      • CNS =Central Pain
    • Varied characteristics (burning, shock-like, paresthetic, +/- paroxysms)
    • May be associated with referred pain, allodynia,
    • hyperalgia or hyperpathia
    • Nociceptive, inflammatory and neuropathic pain result from diverse mechanisms.
      • May also vary from patient to patient.
  • Lesson Neurology: Pain Process is built from these main references. Log into SMi Source for a complete list and details.

  • Woolf CJ, Salter MW. Neuronal Plasticity: Increasing the Gain in Pain. Science, 2000;288(5472):1765-1768.

    Scholz J and Woolf CJ. Can we conquer pain? Nature Neuroscience, 2002;5(Supplement):1062-1067.

    Mersky H, Bogduk N, eds. Classification of chronic pain. 2nd edition. Seattle, WA: IASP Press; 1994: 209-214.
    Available at

  • Lesson Neurology: Pain Process introduces and defines these terms

  • PNS = Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

    CNS =Central Pain