Author: Steven Reinberg Health Day Reporter
Friday, October 1, 2021 (Health Day News)-Many people with chronic back pain have tried physical therapy and medication to no avail. A new study shows that they may “forget” their discomfort within a few weeks-using psychotherapy.
“For a long time, we have always believed that chronic pain is mainly caused by physical problems, and most treatments so far have been directed at this,” said Yoni Ashar, who led the research, who received a Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Bachelor of Science. At the University of Colorado Boulder.
“The premise of this treatment is that the brain can produce pain after no injury or healing, and people can forget the pain. Our research shows that it is effective,” Assal said in a university press conference.
The study involved 151 men and women with back pain for at least six months who participated in a 4-week psychotherapy called “pain reprocessing therapy.” They had mild to moderate pain and received a total of eight one-hour treatments.
According to the results of the study, two-thirds of patients are painless or almost painless after treatment. Most people have no pain within a year.
“We rarely observed the magnitude and persistence of pain reduction in chronic pain treatment trials,” Ashar said. He added that in many trials, opioids can only provide moderate and short-term relief.
Researchers say that about 85% of patients with chronic back pain will experience pain, but the test cannot find a clear physical source, such as tissue damage.
According to this study, the failure of neural pathways is part of the cause. Compared with acute pain, different brain regions are activated more during chronic pain. In patients with chronic pain, certain neural networks overreact to even mild stimuli.
“The idea is that by treating pain as a safety rather than a threat, patients can change the brain network that strengthens pain and neutralize it,” said Ashar, now a postdoctoral researcher at the Weill Cornell School of Medicine in New York City.
The purpose of treatment is to let patients understand the role of the brain in causing chronic pain and help them reassess pain because they move in the way they are afraid. It is also designed to help them cope with emotions that may increase pain.
After treatment, 66% of patients in the treatment group were painless or almost painless, compared with 20% of patients receiving sham treatment and 10% of untreated patients.
When people in the psychotherapy group were exposed to pain in the post-treatment scanner, the brain areas related to pain processing—including the forebrain insula and the anterior middle cingulate—have quieted down significantly.
The research focuses on chronic back pain, so larger studies are needed in the future to understand whether this treatment has the same results for other chronic pain.
CU Boulder Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and researcher Sona Dimidjian said: “This study proposes a new way to think about the causes of chronic back pain in many people and the tools that can be used to treat this pain.” “It is for wanting. People who are free or have little pain offer a potentially powerful choice.”
Source: University of Colorado Boulder, press release, September 29, 2021
Copyright © 2021 HealthDay. all rights reserved.