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Back pain

Chronic back pain linked to physical changes in the brain

Thursday, March 01, 2007 by: M. T. Whitney
Tags: back pain, chronic pain, health news


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(NewsTarget) A team of German researchers has linked chronic back pain to changes in the pain-processing areas of the brain. The research may yield new ways to treat the issue, which, according to the web site WebMD.com, affects 80 percent of Americans during their lifetimes.

Jump directly to: conventional view | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View


• The researchers found that people with chronic back pain have higher stimuli in the microstructure of the pain-processing area of their brains.

• The researchers say their finding may give reasons to consider chronic back pain a treatable condition.

• The research utilized a brain image-mapping technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging and compared sufferers with healthy volunteers.

• The researchers said more information was needed to tell whether simulation in the microstructure is created by back pain or if the stimulation itself causes the pain.

• The pain-processing area of the brain is located in the somatosensory system, a part of the primary sensory cortex within the parietal lobe of the brain. It also affects feelings of emotion and stress.

• Incidentally, according to the web site Spine-health.com, chronic back pain can be linked to an increased chance of depression among its sufferers.

• "DTI may help explain what's happening for some of these patients, and direct therapeutic attention from the spine to the brain," said study co-author Gustav Schelling of the Department of Anaesthesiology at Munich University.

Bottom line


• Chronic back pain is linked to the pain-processing area of the brain, which may change the way the issue is considered and treated.

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