Read the article "Chronic pain: better understood, better treated", published today in Québec Science. Many Quebec specialists are quoted, including Professor Yves De Koninck, who explains the major advances in our understanding of chronic pain over the last few decades:
And our conception of chronic pain has changed completely. "For a long time, we saw pain as a symptom of another underlying problem. It reflected the presence of an injury, a cancer, an infection..." explains Yves De Koninck, professor at Laval University and a specialist in the biology of the nervous system.
But the last few decades of research have shown that chronic pain is not always the result of another pathology. It is now considered a disease in itself. "It's a dysfunction of the nervous system that needs to be tackled directly," stresses the man who heads up the CERVO research centre.
Dysfunctions in the nerves, spinal cord or brain produce an abnormal perception of a non-painful signal, or an exaggerated perception of a painful signal. "Chronic pain will be expressed differently from one person to another, because it is not necessarily the same mechanism or the same region that has been deregulated," says Yves De Koninck.