Our Brains on Pain

Headache

Brain Pain (Photo credit: Brandon Koger)

Read an article about brains on pain. Here is an excerpt, and the link is below.

Anyone living with chronic pain knows that it amounts to much more than an unpleasant bodily sensation. Fuzzy thinking, faulty memory, anxiety and depression often accompany long-term pain, suggesting that the condition is more of a whole-brain disorder than simply pain signaling gone haywire. New research from Northwestern University reveals a possible cause: an impaired hippocampus, a region critical for learning, memory and emotional processing.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-chronic-pain-affects-memory-mood&WT.mc_id=SA_Facebook

I’ve read some research before, and know so many people that seem to have mental symptoms caused by chronic physical pain. I am excited that they have found a “real” cause for those fuzzy, foggy, impaired thinking symptoms we have, and that it isn’t “just in our head”. It really is in our head, and brain scans can see it.

I’m thinking chronic stress and trauma have a similar effect, actually impairing our brains. And then I was thinking, wow, is it like our muscles full of lactic acid, that is released through massage? So when we go to therapy, or process old painful memories, we are having a brain massage? Makes sense to me. I have often wanted to dig my fingers right into my painful brain to release all that pressure. I have also cried after a great body massage, with that release of tension and toxicity, so it makes sense we need to cry after an hour of therapy too.

So the next step? Is there some way to protect our brains from the constant toxic assault of pain and stress chemicals? I hope so.

But until then, I’m off to do the next best thing. I’m seeing my therapist today for a full brain massage. Gonna be interesting, as I intend to discuss with her all the ways I have been sabotaging therapy. We’ll see what she says about that, and where to go from here.

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9 thoughts on “Our Brains on Pain

  1. Sharing this tomorrow on my blog. I need this right now. Or maybe I’m in a place I’m able to better appreciate it and make use of it. Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Interesting blog over at r2b, again… « The Project: Me by Judy

  3. Pingback: Mental Rest after Therapy | Roots to Blossom

  4. I agree! I read an interview given by a well respected neuropsychiatrist who is attempting to change the way we view mental illness. If we treated and viewed those with mental problems as having a brain circuitry disorder it would go a long way to reducing stigma, integrating medical specialties otherwise not involved, and compassion in treating those patients involved. Funding allocated to research new avenues for a “cure” would be increased as well. Keep on going.

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