Chronic Pain And Emotion

Professor Apkarian has studied chronic pain for over 20 years. In a recent study looking into people with recent back pain, he was able to predict with 85% accuracy those that would go on to develop chronic back pain! How? By noticing an increased level of cross-talk between two specific parts of the brain…suggesting that the more emotionally the brain reacts to the injury…the greater the likelihood of developing chronic pain. The researchers also found that the subjects that developed chronic back pain lost grey matter density…this is in accord with earlier studies that have measured brain atrophy in people with chronic pain. These changes can be compared to those that occur with aging.

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