What is plasticity?
Plasticity refers to the capacity to respond differently or change in response to tissue damage. Neuroplasticity due to early or repeated exposure to pain may result in a maladaptive reorganization of the peripheral and central nervous system. Noxious stimuli including inflammation may cause elevated nociceptive input and elicit a neuroplastic response causing physical changes to individual neurons, how neurons communicate with each other, and the cortical and whole-brain level (remapping). Children’s perceptions of pain depend on complex neuronal interactions that include both ascending pain transmission and descending pain modulation and suppression. Children are more vulnerable to pain given their frequent exposures, variable developmental and cognitive ability to evaluate the meaning of the pain experienced, and lack of autonomy to seek pain prevention interventions and treatments.