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Neuroplastic Pain

More Chronic Pain Research

Pain and the Brain Video

Neuroplasticity Video

The traditional view of pain in terms of “hard-wired” conduction of pain signals to the sensory cortex has been modified following extensive research into the physiological, pharmacological and even genetic changes that accompany pain. It is now established that pain whether neuroplastic or inflammatory is accompanied by profound and long-lasting changes both at the primary site of injury and at distant sites in the central nervous system. CPD Anaesthesia, 2001; 3(3): 103-108

The nociceptive (pain) system is not just a system for the conduction of pain impulses from the periphery to the brain. We now know that plastic changes can take place in the periphery, the spinal cord and also in higher brain centers following injury or inflammation. These changes may increase the magnitude of the perceived pain and may contribute to the development of chronic pain syndromes. SWISS MED WKLY 2002;132:273– 278

Chronic pain patients suffer from more than just pain; depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, and decision-making abnormalities also significantly diminish their quality of life. Recent studies have demonstrated that chronic pain harms cortical areas unrelated to pain, but whether these structural impairments and behavioral deficits are connected by a single mechanism is as of yet unknown. Here we propose that long-term pain alters the functional connectivity of cortical regions known to be active at rest, i.e., the components of the "default mode network" (DMN). This DMN  is marked by balanced positive and negative correlations between activity in component brain regions. In several disorders, however this balance is disrupted. Using well validated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigms to study the DMN, we investigated whether the impairments of chronic pain patients could be rooted in disturbed DMN dynamics. Studying with fMRI a group of chronic back pain (CBP) patients and healthy controls while executing a simple visual attention task, we discovered that CBP patients, despite performing the task equally well as controls, displayed reduced deactivation in several key DMN regions. These findings demonstrate that chronic pain has a widespread impact on overall brain function, and suggest that disruptions of the DMN may underlie the cognitive and behavioral impairments accompanying chronic pain.
The Journal of Neuroscience, February 6, 2008, 28(6):1398-1403

Links to research:

Pain & Brain Video

Dr. Amen

Northwestern University

Video Dr. Ramachandran

Video Brain Changes


What others have said;

Your brain never stops developing and changing. It’s been doing it from the time you were an embryo, and will keep on doing it all your life. And this ability, perhaps, represents its greatest strength.  James Trefil

Cells that fire together, wire together. Donald Hebb, PhD.

The brain remains a dynamic structure that alters from year-to-year, day-to-day, even moment-to-moment over our lifespan.  Richard Restak, MD.

Neuroplasticity is one of the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century.
Norman Doidge, MD

Between stimulus and response, one has the freedom to choose. Stephen Covey

Cells that do not fire together, no longer wire together. Joseph Dispenza, DC

Repetition is the mother of all learning.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
*Attributed to Mohandas Gandhi

Change your thinking and see how good life can be!  
*Attributed to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat,
can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.
*Attributed to Deepak Chopra

Health is the result of thinking and acting in a certain way. 
*Attributed to Wallace D Wattles

Pain is more than a hurt; it is to all too many a way of life.
*Attributed to C. Norman Shealy, MD

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