Pain Basics

Pain becomes conscious in the brain, more precisely in the cerebral cortex. Before the pain signal can be perceived it has made its way through the body from the periphery to the central nervous system (CNS).

The central and peripheral nervous system can be considered as a network via which the pain stimulus is conveyed within the body. The nerve cells that convey sensory impulses from the periphery to the CNS are described as afferent (ascending to the CNS). Nerve cells that transmit signals from the CNS to the muscles, glands and organs are referred to as efferent neurons (descending from the CNS).