The Human Brain and Back Pain

 

Depending on where you have read it (and there is no definitive answer) the human brain consists of about 86 billion nerve cells called neurons. It is a medical fact that the human brain and the nervous system running throughout our bodies are considered the ‘master controller’ of everything we do as a human being.

Often considered as a ‘super-computer’, the human brain is responsible for such tasks as increasing our heart rate and breathing rate when we perform exercises – to the release of blood sugar-reducing hormones after we eat a meal. But exactly how does it do these tasks?

In essence, the scientific ‘jury’ is out on the incredible complexity of the human brain and how it all comes together to perform the complex tasks of keeping the human body in a state of working order. There are a number of things known, and scientifically tested. There are also a number of things that we do not fully understand about the human brain.

Here is what we do know.

In simple terms the human brain receives a constant stream of nerve signals. These can be internally from cells, tissues, organs of the body. Our external environment (the world we live in) is also ‘sensed’ by a collection of nerve impulses sent to the neurons of the brain via our specialised organs – the eyes, ears, tongue, nose, & skin. All of these nerve signals are known as ‘sensory input’. The neurons of the brain process the sensory inputs, and send out an appropriate action via a different set of nerves. This is usually what is described as a ‘motor response’.

These are known as ‘feedback loops’.

The brain connects to the human body via the nervous system

The brain connects to the human body via the nervous system

So what has this got to do with back pain? Simply put, your brain is constantly receiving sensory information from the muscles, ligaments and joints of the body. In the blink of an eye, your brain processes and gives an appropriate motor response. The result is our posture and the ability to move any joint of the body in a smooth and controlled manner.

Can a ‘stiff’ joint[s] and poor information from the surrounding muscles create an inappropriate motor output to the same joints and muscles leading to tissue damage known as back pain?

Absolutely.

And is a topic I will be adding layers to in the upcoming weeks