why cant we just remove the pain receptors from a person with chronic pain?

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why cant we just remove the pain receptors from a person with chronic pain?

In: Biology

23 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because they’re tightly tied into the rest of the nervous system. Trying to go down to each individual receptor is impossible because there are millions of them, while it’s totally possible to do a nerve block for a general area, but you also lose control of that area. Like a paralyzed limb.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People like this exist. No pain receptors means they sometimes claw their eyes in the middle of their sleep or choke on blood because they bit their tongue or cheek while sleeping. Pain sucks, but it’s extremely important for the survival of an organism.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I have a chronic pain condition. When it is bad, I like to imagine this scenario. My issues is that my pain receptors have gone haywire and/or my brain misinteprets all stimuli as painful.

However, pain receptors exist biologically to keep us safe. Real pain is a warning sign that something is wrong and the body is in danger (ie; you touch something hot and pain receptors and nerves make you jolt your hand away before you’re burnt etc). If you remove them, you would never know when something is actually wrong and your body would be put at unnecessary risk of harm/infection/death.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The phenomenon you experience as pain _usually_ starts as a signal from a physical pain receptor somewhere in your body, but for people with chronic pain, the problem is how those signals get interpreted by the brain. They are effectively getting false positives, whether those receptors are being stimulated or not.

That’s why [phantom limb pain](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448188/) is possible. There, the brain is interpreting pain signals as coming from receptors that no longer exist.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Why not amputate your head if you have a headache? 

Cuz you need it for other things. 

Pain indicates that your touch response and nervous system are intact. We have drugs that block the pain signals but they block other signals too. 

Opioids are a good example. They stop pain but also slow smooth muscle contraction and induce respiratory depression.  Overdo it and the person stops breathing. Overdo nerve treatments and you can cause nerve damage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We do, kind of. It’s called a rhizotomy or a nerve ablation.  Basically, it’s when a surgeon kills nerve fibers that are responsible for sending pain signals to the brain.  Most people who have a rhizotomy experience pain relief immediately and will continue to be pain-free for several years (until the nerve recovers and begins to transmit pain signals again). 

Anonymous 0 Comments

First of all there are millions of them all over your body. You’d basically be flaying and then gutting them to remove them all.

Secondly it may not do anything many times chronic pain is more to do with how their brain responds to a pain signal. Even in normal people it’s very individual. We can use fMRIs to get an idea how the brain works and see for tje same pain ‘signal’ going in people can report very diffefent experiences of pain.

Thirdly even if we invented a drug that disabled them all permanemtly you then have the problem where they will eg lean against a radiator and not realise their skin burning off. Some people are born with a condition where their brain doesn’t respond to pain and they often die young from stuff lile internal injuries or diseases they’ve no idea they had.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Even if you could, that is not desirable. You need to feel pain to know things like when you’re too hot or have a cut on your skin to make sure you tend to it and it doesn’t get infected. You know how people with diabetes sometimes can’t feel their feet so they will step on something sharp or get a cut, not notice, it will get infected and cause problems? If you couldn’t feel pain at all, your whole body would be like that.

Inability to feel pain natively is an extremely rare disorder sometimes called CIPA. Pepole with it tend to have short lifespans for the aforementioned reasons in addition to other stuff. CW, wiki page has a gross picture, but further reading here:

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain_with_anhidrosis](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain_with_anhidrosis)

Anonymous 0 Comments

I have a version of this with the condition I have, Brown Sequard Syndrome, where my right side is weak (full feeling/pain but little strength) and my left side is the opposite (full motion/strength but little feeling/pain). Weirdest thing that has ever happened to me and literally a 1 per million people occurrence.

Can vouch that having pain receptors is a good thing, as in my fun time I work on Unlimited Hydroplanes (onboard cameras) and have severely burned my left leg multiple times on the turbine exhaust because I couldn’t feel it burning. Smelled it though. Cuts are the same, where it has to be pretty major to feel it. Would definitely vote to have pain, even if it had to be managed with drugs, just to know when you’ve harmed yourself enough to cause major damage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You’re not wrong. That’s exactly what pain medications do. They blocks the receptors from sending pain signals to your brain, so you don’t feel it. Sort of like *removing the pain receptors from working.