The Brain Doesn’t Feel Pain

Ouch! When you stub your toe or touch something hot, your body releases chemicals that send pain signals up through the spinal cord to receptors in the brain. The brain then sends the pain message back down to the part of the body that hurts. But although it’s the interpreter of pain, the brain itself does not have pain-sensitive nerves. Only the structures that surround the brain feel pain. As a matter of fact, once inside the brain, surgeons can operate on the brain without anesthesia. In one technique known as brain mapping, surgeons probe brain tissue while monitoring reactions like muscle movement and speech — all while the patient is awake.