It appears that the things we do sometimes tips the scale in favor of getting chronic pain. It could be the shoes we wear, or just our office environment causing us to sit for long hours in the cube. Bottom line, the toll it takes on our physical bodies causes shifts in our balance, resulting in bodily strain, and ultimately chronic pain. But can chronic pain have a mental, emotional trigger as well? Check out this study by Northwestern University researchers regarding this very question.
A brain region controlling whether we feel happy or sad, as well as addiction, is remodeled by chronic pain, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
And in a significant breakthrough for the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain, scientists have developed a new treatment strategy that restores this region and dramatically lessens pain symptoms in an animal model.
The new treatment combines two FDA-approved drugs: a Parkinson’s drug, L-dopa, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The combined drugs target brain circuits in the nucleus accumbens and completely eliminate chronic pain behavior when administered to rodents with chronic pain. The key is administering the drugs together and shortly after an injury.”
The article on the research study was interesting, and it was intriguing to hear the researchers mention that chronic pain has the effect of causing the brain to get addicted to pain. And thus, their focus on that part of the brain called the “nucleus accumbens”, sometimes known as our pleasure center. It is that part of the brain that plays a role in how we feel, our motivation levels, and even addiction.
The study showed success with the dual-drug treatment, however, it only involved animals. So there is a question whether this treatment will work with humans. Although the article mentioned L-dopa as one of the drugs used in the study, it did not specify the name of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
It is, though, good to hear that there is on-going research on chronic pain, and that the mind-body connection as it relates to pain is being explored even more.