Tags: Chronic Pain | pain | fibromyalgia | cognition | post-traumatic stress

Pain Changes Your Brain

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Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 03:49 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Pain has been an enigma since the early recorded history of man. Recent studies on one painful condition, fibromyalgia, suggest that the pain itself can significantly alter how we think.
 
In one study, researchers used a technique called a functional MRI scan that allows them to actually watch the brain thinking. The researchers scanned 17 different women suffering from fibromyalgia and found that when the pain was maximal, the parts of the brain associated with pain appreciation were connecting with the brain system that concentrates on self (the default
mode).
 
As the pain was relieved with acupuncture, the brain connections shifted to allow the person to think about other things outside of themselves. This is important because this process allows us to function normally.
 
Most of us have experienced pain, such as from a headache or a painful elbow, that keeps us from concentrating on our work. We now know that this pain involves changes in the function of our brains. It makes us focus our attention on ourselves — that is, thoughts about the pain, what to do about it and dark ideas about a possible terrible condition that could be associated with it.
 
Modern neuroscience also teaches us that if this pain lasts too long we have great difficulty ridding ourselves of the pain even after its cause subsides. This is because our brain “learns the pain,” much like repeating a poem lets us recall the poem later. But in this case, we do not want to keep that memory.
 
When God made our brains, he added a mechanism to forget pain, especially pain associated with terrible psychological experiences — such as seen with war wounds. We call this “learned pain” post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS).
 
One example of this beautiful mechanism of forgetting pain is seen with the birth experience. Once the baby is born, the mother quickly forgets the pain.
 
PTSS is closely linked to depression and suicidal tendencies as well. The common denominator appears to be a disturbance in the glutamate neurotransmitter and drugs that lower brain glutamate have been the most effective. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet is filled with glutamate additives, which may be worsening the problem and even making painful experiences persist.
 
The bottom line is that we all need to avoid these additives and increase our intake of nutrients that reduce glutamate overactivity. These nutrients include magnesium, curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol and hesperidin. Zinc deficiency is also associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
 
We also need to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and pray daily.

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Dr-Blaylock
Pain has been an enigma since the early recorded history of man. Recent studies on one painful condition, fibromyalgia, suggest that the pain itself can significantly alter how we think.
pain, fibromyalgia, cognition, post-traumatic stress
422
2014-49-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 03:49 PM
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