Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Even before injury, chronic back pain may start in the brain

LA Times, By Melissa Healy,September 18, 2013

It's infuriating to chronic pain sufferers to be told their pain in "all in the head." But a new study offers strong evidence that even before a person experiences an injury, the likelihood that the resulting pain will become chronic can be predicted by examining the brain's "white matter" -- the bundles of fatty fibers that carry electrical impulses between the brain's hemispheres and among its dense network of cells and structures.

The new research, published Tuesday in the journal Pain, suggests that variations in brain structure could help identify people who, once injured, are more vulnerable to becoming chronic pain sufferers. But it will take further research to identify whether and which treatments could discourage short-term pain from settling in for a long stay.

The study was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, led by Ali R. Mansour and A. Vania Apkarian, both pioneers in defining the link between pain and emotion.

You can read the entire article at LA Times.

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