Relieving Pain with “a Built-in Mechanism”

Pain Management

The human body produces its own endogenous opioids, which act like hormones that activate the opioid receptors in the brain as part of our natural response to pain or other stimuli. Opioid receptors on your nerve cells activate when they come in contact with opioids. Opioid receptors — naturally produced by the body and taken as medications — relieve pain when they are activated by opioids. There are various types of opioid receptors; however, the majority of opioid medications like oxycodone and morphine act on the mu opioid receptor. Opioid medications often have significant side effects mediated by the mu opioid receptor, including constipation and difficulty breathing. These drugs are addictive and their effectiveness diminishes over time, so people require higher doses to manage their pain, leading to increased side effects and risk of overdose.

The human body has three kinds of opioid receptors: Mu, Delta, and Kappa. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Delta opioid receptors are an ideal target for treating chronic inflammatory pain with less side effects. This is possible because Delta opioid receptors have a built-in mechanism for pain relief and can be precisely targeted with drug-delivering nanoparticles.

In this study, the researchers studied the delta opioid receptor, which also inhibits pain when activated but offers a promising target for treating pain with fewer side effects. The study found that the delta opioid receptor has a built-in mechanism of pain control and inhibits pain by signaling within an endosome. Their findings demonstrated that not only are delta opioid receptors in endosomes a built-in mechanism for pain control, but also a viable therapeutic target for chronic inflammatory pain relief.

The team at Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute has one goal — helping patients who are suffering from chronic pain find much-needed relief. With 20% of the adult population in the United States in the grips of chronic pain, our Atlanta team of pain management management specialists understands the magnitude of the problem, and works tirelessly to restore each patient’s quality of life. Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute often treats muscle pain with pain management medication. If you are experiencing minor soreness, backaches, and stiff joints after an accident, we can help ease the pain so you can rest and wait it out comfortably. To learn more about the pain management services at Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute, schedule an appointment.

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