An interesting article on chronic pain’s effect on the brain.
People with unrelenting pain don’t only suffer from the non-stop sensation of throbbing pain. They also have trouble sleeping, are often depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.In a new study, investigators at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine have identified a clue that may explain how suffering
long-term pain could trigger these other pain-related symptoms. Researchers found that in a healthy brain all the regions exist in a state of equilibrium. When one region is active, the others quiet down. But in people with chronic pain, a front region of the cortex mostly associated
with emotion “never shuts up,” said Dante Chialvo, lead author and associate research professor of physiology at the Feinberg School.
“The areas that are affected fail to deactivate when they should.”
They are stuck on full throttle, wearing out neurons and altering their connections to each other.
This is the first demonstration of brain disturbances in chronic pain patients not directly related to the sensation of pain.