Pain explained in four pillars

Pain is interpreted as any unpleasant feeling, such as: pain combined with injury but also limiting feelings or loads that disrupt normal daily functioning, such as: annoying movement restrictions, mood swings, migraines, sleep disorders etc ...

In Manual Neurotherapy and Nerve Reflexology, the symptoms are analysed according to the input into the four pillars of pain. This analysis leads to a holistic picture of the symptoms. All applied therapeutic techniques are designed to influence the various components of the nervous system.

Overloads, injuries or dysfunctions are registered by certain nerves and carried to the spinal cord. From there, the stimuli go to the brain.


Pillar 1. Stimuli from the musculoskeletal system, harmful or not, are registered by nerves from the "somatic nervous system"


Pillar 2.  Stimuli from the organs, hormone and immune system are registered by nerves from the "autonomic nervous system"


Pillar 3.  All the stimuli of pillars 1 and 2 are combined in the spinal cord and carried by ascending nerve pathways to certain      brain centres. Spinal cord and brain together form the "central nervous system".


Pillar 4.  In the middle of the brain is an area, called limbic system, in which the incoming stimuli are "tested" against emotions,  stress factors, learning processes, environmental factors, etc... All these factors can strengthen (= excitation) or                        dampen (= inhibition) the stimulus transfer.

Communication between the nerves from the four pillars is done by chemical substances or "neurotransmitters". Certain neurotransmitters have a stimulating effect (excitation), while others have a dampening effect (inhibition). Moreover, all this can still be influenced by hormones from the circulatory system and cytokines from the immune system that can also strengthen or dampen the signals.

When and how does pain arise and to what extent is the intensity of the pain determined?

All signals from the body, emotions, learning processes, environmental factors and so much more are processed in the brain through an interplay of neurons that connect with each other.

A "pain circuit" arises when the various brain centres decide that there is a threat, a danger. That pain circuit can in turn be enforced or diminished by other interfering nervous circuits.

An anxiety circuit (e.g., fear of moving in case of back pain) on top of the pain circuit will strengthen the pain.

A motivation circuit (e.g., this is not bad, I have to continue) can weaken the pain circuit.

Thus, the brain decides, regardless of the severity of the damage, how intense the pain will be.

Pain is therefore more likely to be regarded as a "friend" signal, a protection factor.

How big that protection factor will be depends on emotions, memory and learning processes.


Pain is not only caused by overloads or functional disorders in the body. Emotions, traumatic experiences or psycho-emotional overload directly disrupt the centres in the limbic system. As a result, they can cause numerous changes throughout the body, including physical pain.

MNT-NR International
International Association for Manual Neurotherapy and Nerve Reflexology

MNT-NR International

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