When something goes wrong in your body – you’re exposed to a sudden severe temperature change, or trauma or inflammation, those nociceptors fire their electrical messages off to the spinal cord, and there the nociceptors connect with other nerve fibres, and these messages are then taken up to your brain where they connect with a range of centres in the brain.
Whether you experience pain or not depends on the messages going up to the brain, and on some messages coming down from the brain. These electrical signals can increase or dampen down the messages going up to the brain. The experience of pain is also dependent on what else is going on in your brain. Sometimes, if you’re busy doing something that you’re really into or enjoy, the pain won’t be so noticeable. That’s not because the degree of damage changes, it’s because of the way our brains work and how pain is processed.