Neuroplasticity--an important factor in acute and chronic pain

Swiss Med Wkly. 2002 Jun 1;132(21-22):273-8. doi: 10.4414/smw.2002.09913.


The nociceptive system is not just a system for the conduction of pain impulses from the periphery to the brain. We now know that plastic changes can take place in the periphery, the spinal cord and also in higher brain centres following injury or inflammation. These changes may increase the magnitude of the perceived pain and may contribute to the development of chronic pain syndromes. Although our knowledge is growing, we are now almost more confused as to how we should intervene in order to attenuate or inhibit neuroplasticity. The present review examines the current knowledge on mechanism, clinical significance and prevention of neuroplastic changes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*