How do Pain Relievers work?

Ever wondered how 2 tiny Advils can make a headache or sore muscles fade away?    TEDed, the new educational arm of TED, explains with a short, informative video.

Your body recognizes pain with nerve cells called nociceptors.  When nociceptors are triggered to fire (i.e. send a nerve impulse, known as an action potential), they cause a cascade of chemical reactions that result in the experience of pain.

One class of chemicals, called prostaglandins, plays a key role in the progression of this chemical reaction.  Drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin block prostaglandin, therefore preventing the remaining reaction cycle and as a consequence, pain.



Check out the full lesson here for a Quick Quiz, Thoughtful Questions and Dig Deeper resources.

Leave a reply