When you think of the “gut” what comes to mind? Most people think of the stomach and other digestive organs. They may think of issues like nausea, constipation, or bloating. Some may even think of “gut instinct” or a “gut reaction.”
In reality, the gut is so much more than just where you digest your food. The gut is home to your microbiome (the vast ecosystem of microbiotas that help you digest, defend, and protect) and your enteric nervous system (an interconnected neural web that connects your gut to the central nervous system).
Let’s learn more about the humble gut and see how it interacts with a few key body systems.
- Nociceptive pain – nociceptor are sensory neurons that respond to damaging or potentially damaging stimuli by sending signals to the brain and spinal cord. Nociceptive pain is the pain we are all most familiar with. It includes burns, injuries, bee stings, nausea, arthritis and tumor pain.
- Neuropathic pain which arises from damage to the nervous system itself either from disease or injury. Examples are sciatica, mechanical insults, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy or alcoholism.
Interestingly very often chronic pain involves elements of both types.