Emotions may play a part in level of pain we suffer
EMOTIONS may determine why some people are more likely to suffer chronic pain than others, a study has found.
The emotional state of the brain can explain why different individuals do not respond the same way to similar injuries, say scientists. Some recover fully while others remain in constant pain.
Brain scan studies showed for the first time how chronic pain emerges as a result of an emotional response to an injury.
The process involves interaction between two brain regions, the frontal cortex and nucleus accumbens.
Lead scientist Professor Vania Apkarian, from Northwestern University in Chicago, US, said: “The injury itself is not enough to explain the ongoing pain. It has to do with the injury combined with the state of the brain.”
The more emotionally the brain reacted to the initial injury, the more likely it was that pain will persist after the injury has healed, he said.
Prof Apkarian added: “It may be that these sections of the brain are more excited to begin with in certain individuals, or there may be genetic and environmental influences that predispose these brain regions to interact at an excitable level.”
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