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What Causes Pain To Become Chronic?

New study November 2020 that looked at 375 women coming to an inner city emergency department for acute pain.  They followed these people for 3 months. 162 people still had pain at the end of 3 months while the others recovered. What they found was: “The no recovery group reported significantly greater PTSD symptoms, anger, […]

Changes in the Brain Predict Chronic Low Back Pain a Year Later

This is one of those research articles I refer to often. It’s titled: ‘Predicting transition to chronic pain’. What is so interesting about this research is they did brain scans at the time of an acute low back pain episode and then again a year later. In the people whose pain became chronic, they found […]

Abnormal Amygdala Connections With Chronic Pain

The Amygdala is known as the emotional center of the brain. It has been implicated in anxiety and depression and now studies are clearly showing it is implicated with chronic pain. This study showed exactly that, and it also highlighted that pain catastrophizing had the greatest impact on the abnormal amygdala to central executive network […]

What Happens in the Brain with Pain Catastrophizing?

Pain Catastrophizing is a ‘tendency to magnify and ruminate about pain and having a helpless attitude toward actual or anticipated pain.’ Studies show that people who catastrophize about their pain have higher pain levels. This occurs through mechanisms in the brain. This review study below from 2019 highlights some of the brain areas that are […]

Mindfulness Changes Brain Centers Linked With Chronic Pain

Article titled: “The Neuroscience of Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Alters the Brain and Facilitates Emotion Regulation” Some of the same areas of the brain that become weak (prefrontal cortex, etc) or overactive (amygdala) with chronic pain and chronic health issues are the same ones that change for the better with mindfulness. Mindfulness is defined as: ‘A […]

The Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in Chronic Pain

When looking at the brain’s impact on chronic pain, we have to look to the prefrontal cortex. 2020 review of the research says: ‘Its predominant role in aversive learning and memory puts the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in a pole position as a hub for the development of mental comorbidities associated with chronic pain.’  The […]

Intolerance of Uncertainty Leads To More Pain

July 2020 publication in the Journal ‘Pain’ looking at what’s called Intolerance of uncertainty (IU), which the study authors state is ‘a dispositional fear of the unknown’  and is related to anxiety and excessive worry. This study looked at how ‘uncertainty regarding a chronic pain diagnosis and treatment may fuel beliefs that something serious was […]

Fibromyalgia and Emotion Regulation Difficulties

2020 study out of Europe looking at fibromyalgia and how these people have a harder time dealing with their emotions.  As we know how we deal with emotions affects pain levels. Emotions are the biggest missing piece in the chronic pain world that many healthcare workers and patients fail to look at. We have more […]

Emotional Awareness Reduces IBS Pain

Let’s continue with the science around emotions and now IBS. Study Titled: “Higher Emotional Awareness Is Associated With Reduced Pain in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients: Preliminary Results” Conclusions This inverse relationship between emotional awareness and both pain and somatization symptoms is consistent with evidence that irritable bowel syndrome patients experience reduced pain from therapies designed […]

What Is the Relationship between Pain and Emotion? 

Great to see these guys out of Stanford put out an article asking the scientific and medical community to bridge the gap between pain and emotion, as we have severed the mind from the body with pain for far too long. The authors put together a nice brain map you see here showing the overlap […]