4 Responses to “Pain and the Immune System – It’s Not Just About Neurons – Naltrexone”

  1. Jeisea Says:

    Very interesting. I speak from experience when I say thay I agree that “opiates create pain”. I’m posting about your article today.

  2. Richmond Stace Says:

    It is certain that developing our understanding of the role of the immune system and it’s interaction with the nervous and endocrine systems will help design treatment. This is true for both pharmacological manipulation of our chemistry and how we can design rehabilitation programmes. The latter is my concern and how we can influence all of these systems through good patient education to reduce fear and anxiety, choose exercises that do not provoke an ill-response. This is by creating the right context, environment, understanding, timing and intensity. Dr Mick Thacker at King’s College London is the main proponent behind the notion of ‘movement as an antigen’ that is both highly applicable clinically and fascinating. It is this kind of thinking that is really driving forward our approaches and ability to be increasingly optimistic.

    • Nancy Sajben MD Says:

      Interesting concept: Movement as an antigen. Please cite articles. I would like to know more.

      The role of exercise and health is certainly recognized as influencing neuroplasticity.

      Exercise triggers BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor – which is believed to be why exercise reduces the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. BDNF is involved in learning and memory.

      Not all exercise is equal.
      A recent one year study of a group aged 55 to 80 showed that walking 40 minutes three times a week improved memory and increased brain size when compared to a group that did stretching and aerobics for an equal amount of time. Of course, ideally we would like our bodies to be able to stretch, do aerobics and walk. But the memory function seems to be specific.

      I’ve also posted on exercise as a natural pain reliever here. Even 10 minutes a day can help.

      I do not know much about timing and function of glia or the immune system, but neuropathic pain is typically worse at night.

      Timing is controlled by the central pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. When I did research in chronophysiology and epilepsy in 1981, we knew of more than 1,000 cycles in the human body. Light is the most important cue to entrain cycles in plants and animals. Oncologists are beginning to look at timing of chemotherapy. Chronomodulated delivery schedules have led to improved tolerability and/or better antitumor activity as shown in randomized multicenter studies in over 40 institutions in 12 countries noted in 2002 here.

      Perhaps someday we will figure out better timing of interventions for pain.

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