Physical Pain has Emotional Link
A new study done at the North-western University in Chicago, U.S suggests that "emotions determine why some people are more likely to suffer chronic pain than others."
The scientists say that the emotional state of the brain explains why individuals respond differently to the same problem. For a few of them it is easy to recover quickly and completely while the others still remain in a constant pain keeping themselves occupied with the same event.
Brain scan studies showed for the first time how chronic pain emerges as a result of an emotional response to an injury. The two major parts of the brain region, the frontal cortex and nucleus accumbens are involved in this interaction.
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Lead scientist Professor Vania Apakarian, from Northwestern University in Chicago, said: "The injury itself is not enough to explain the ongoing pain. It has to do with the injury combined with the state of the brain. The more emotionally the brain reacted to the initial injury, the more likely it was that pain will persist after the injury has healed. It may be that these sections of the brain are more excited to begin with in certain individuals, or there may be genetic and environmental influences that predispose these brain regions to interact at an excitable level."
In order to conduct the research the researchers conducted the test on 40 volunteers who complained of back pain for one to four months. Four brain scans were carried out on each participant over the course of one year. This made it possible for them to predict with nearly 85% accuracy which of them would be a victim of chronic pain.
The finding that was published in the Journal Nature Neuroscience says the nucleus accumbens instructs the rest of the brain how to evaluate and react to the outside world.
Prof. Apakarian concluded saying, "Nucleus Accumbens may use the initial pain signal to teach other parts of the brain to develop chronic pain. Now we hope to develop new therapies for treatment based on this finding."