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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

What is pain?

Published in Neurosciences, Neurology, For the Health of It Author: Doug Sticha

As chronic pain rates continue to rise, more research has occurred to help with the growing problem. Research within the past 10 years along with advances in technology have helped us understand and assist people in chronic pain.

It was believed a pain response happened as an input to the spinal cord which traveled via nerves to the brain. The brain then sends out “pain messages.”

We now know pain is an output of the brain, which is not a passive recipient of information, however, can make a pain experience.

Research has found that there often are many factors which contribute to chronic pain. A patient who is experiencing chronic pain for many years may not have ongoing tissue injury with nerves sending messages to the brain. The nervous system (which contains over 400 individual nerves, totaling over 45 miles) functions as an alarm to alert us when we have an injury and remains on after the danger (injury) has subsided. Studies tell us 25 percent of Americans have an alarm and nervous system in a state of alertness which contributes to ongoing pain, which is real pain.

With a greater understanding of what can be contributing to a chronic pain condition, a recipe can be made to assist each patient understand his/her pain and have a higher quality of life. This can be accomplished through a team of health care professionals working together to achieve relief.  

So, the answer to the above question of what is pain — pain is unique to each person, think of pain as defender and not an offender.