Friday, April 26, 2013

The Pain In The Brain

I just learned something new today about pain (April 2007). What I learned is that Arthritis pain is processed in the brain's 'fear center'.
Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that arthritis pain, unlike that induced as part of an experiment, is processed in the parts of the brain concerned with emotions and fear.
So repeated pain trains you. It causes your experience of pain to be more painful. Which is a good thing since it will tend to reduce the stress on the areas in pain. The more it hurts the less you use it.
"We thought that arthritic and acute experimental pain would be processed within the same areas of the pain matrix," Dr Kulkarni continued. "But, although both activated both the medial and lateral pain systems, arthritic pain prompted increased activity in the cingulate cortex, thalamus and amygdala within the medial system - the areas concerned with processing fear, emotions and aversive conditioning.

"This suggests that arthritic pain has more emotional salience than experimental pain for these patients, which is consistent with the unpleasantness scores they themselves gave. The increased activity in the areas associated with aversive conditioning, reward and fear, which are less commonly activated during experimental pain, suggests they might be processing fear of further injury and disability associated with the arthritic pain."
This is very important because I think fear, if it reaches a high enough level, is experienced as pain. On top of that it is likely that extreme fear memories can be experienced as pain as well.

Which points out something another study looks at. Fear memories are at the heart of PTSD as I discussed in PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System. One of the keys tying this all together is this study: Fear memories, the amygdala, and the CB1 receptor. It turns out that cannabinoids are a part of this signaling mechanism and that the strength of the signal is in part genetically determined.

All this corroborates what I have been saying for years. The idea that "drugs cause addiction" is superstition. People in chronic pain chronically take drugs for pain relief. It doesn't matter if the pain is from a broken bone or rape memories. The same drugs work to provide relief.

The drug war is a persecution of people in pain.

1 comment:

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