Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than six months. It can range from being annoying, to embarrassing, to crippling. Chronic pain hijacks the brain and can cause the brain to reorganize the white and gray matter into a dys-regulated state. Pain is associated with the mind-body links and requires psychological and neurological assessment to determine treatment.
A study at Stanford Medicine Center showed how chronic pain changed the brain circuitry in mice and affected their motivation to work for rewards. The research team posed three scenarios; 1) Was the pain so severe that the mice lost their appetite? 2) As a result of the pain did the mice not value the food as much? Or, 3) Did they simply suffer from low motivation? To read more click here.
Chronic Pain Treatment
Chronic pain treatment has always been a medical challenge. Medication is the most common source of treatment and does provide relief, but when the drugs are removed the pain returns. Medication becomes a permanent solution but can result in dependence or even addiction. Sometimes the brain adjusts to the presence of the medication and demands more and more. Pain is sensed in the brain, not in the body where it is felt. The brain translates the messages coming from the body and send a warning so that you just don’t ignore the injury. The brain determines how severely the pain is perceived and where it is coming from. Your pain level can vary from day to day, depending on how the brain decodes the signals and scales the pain to the injury. The brain recognizes pain emotionally, and feelings of fear, trauma or helplessness can intensify the experience of pain.
One way to stop the pain is to change the way the brain reacts to nerve impulses – from a dys- regulated state to a regulated state. Biofeedback is a recognized treatment modality for chronic pain.