Chest Pain And Central Nervous System

Chest Pain And Central Nervous System

The central nervous system (CNS) is understood to comprise an entire network of nerves connected and functioning with the brain. Does CNS have any relation with chest pin? The answer is yes. The pain is usually non-cardiac; that is the pain is not related to any problem with the functioning of the heart. Such pain triggers action of the CNS which in turn causes more chest pain. This vicious cycle continues with one aspect causing the other.


A typical example is the chest pain one experiences while suffering an attack of anxiety. This is accompanied by other symptoms like increased rate of heart beat and sweating. Under anxiety attack, the brain sends signals to different parts of the body to respond against a perceived threat. The CNS comes in to action and readies the body for such a response by flight or fight. In the process, the activity of the heart and its related muscles gets higher thus aggravating the chest pain.

The process of transmission of pain commences when a stimulus is sensed by the receptors in the nerve endings of the sense organs. This is transmitted to the CNS by the extensive network of nerves called afferent nerves. These nerves reach the input stimulus to the brain which processes the information and sends the required response in signal form to the targeted body part for physical or psychologicalresponse. The transmission from the brain to the nerve endings in different parts of the body is conducted through the efferent nerves. This entire action takes just a fraction of a second to occur. A good example is the sensation of burn felt when a finger comes in contact with fire. The afferent nerves convey this input of pain to the brain which gives the instruction to move the finger away from fire. This is transmitted through efferent nerves to the muscles of the finger thus completing the responsive action.

The networks of nerves which communicate the sensation of pain to the brain are termed as nociceptive pathways. The nerves connected to the brain called peripheral sensory nerves begin in the spine. The transmission of signals through these nerves is much slower compared to those transmitted through other sensory nerves.

The signal of pain is first transmitted to the spinal cord. This is transmitted to the CNS through spinothalmic tract. From here, it travels to the thalamus through brain stem. The suitable response generated in the thalamus is transmitted through efferent nerves to the targeted body part.

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