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It’s Throwback Thursday! How Does Chronic Pain Affect The Brain?

Once again, it’s Throwback Thursday on our blog! We love to give you some of our most popular previous blog posts to review and learn some new information.  This week’s post focuses on the important issues of chronic pain and mental fatigue.  Enjoy!
How does your brain work when you are suffering from chronic pain? As you may or may not know, chronic pain not only affects your physical body, it also has other secondary effects.  Most notably, sleep deprivation and psychological disorders (such as depression or anxiety) seem to be the most prevalent and debilitating side effects of chronic pain.  Many researchers are interested in this phenomenon, and took their studying a step further to examine how all of these relationships affect the brain.  
Specifically, scientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine studied these interactions and found that, in patients with chronic pain, the emotional center of the brain is in constant overdrive.  This, in turn, deactivates other parts of the brain and changes neural connections and wiring.  Constant overfiring of some neurons while little to no activation of other neurons could lead to permanent damage and changes in the brain.  For example, it may be harder for a patient with chronic pain to make rational decisions or make them more likely to suffer from mood disorders.  Implications of this study are to have physicians not only help chronic pain to manage their chronic pain, but also to help identify possible areas of cognitive dysfunction as a result of the pain and treat those areas as well.
 
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a lawyer located in Altoona, PA who has successfully negotiated claims for those who have chronic pain as the result of personal injury, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip-and-fall, just to name a few.  For more information on him and his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.
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