Neuroscience Nugget #04 – The Crown Jewels

September 8, 2017

The Crown Jewels


Imagine that the royal family has asked you to look after the crown jewels worth a million dollars for a week. Where would you keep them? In a safe! Just like us – our most precious bit is our brain and we keep it enclosed in the toughest bone we have, our skull! Our spinal cord is extremely precious too because it takes all the messages to and from our body and does a lot of brain work as well. We keep our spinal cord encased within strong, solid bits of bone (vertebrae). 

Okay – let’s say you want to protect the crown jewels even better, what might you install? An alarm system! And that is exactly what we have – all the tissues near the spinal cord are loaded with alarm bells – little danger detectors that will ring if anything goes even a little bit wrong. They are so close together that we often don’t have any way of working out which alarm went off – we just know something did.

People often believe their back is weak, fragile and vulnerable, but in reality our backs are built for movement, strength and protection. 

Neuroscience Nuggets

Neuroscience nuggets is a concept developed by David Butler and Lorimer Mosseley of NOI (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute). In their own words, “Neuroscience nuggets are information nuggets – pieces of biological information based on statement or metaphor that can be used as educational analgesia, explicit education or part of overall story telling.”

This nugget is shared from NOI’s book, “Explain Pain Supercharged”. I hope you enjoy this fun learning about pain!