Chronic Pain Affects the Brain

Posted on Apr 22, 2018


A lot people experience chronic back or neck pain. They have an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, that is what pain is. Basically, chronic pain is a sensation felt in a certain part of the body that is unpleasant enough to cause the person negative feelings. “It hurts so bad that I just can’t stand the pain doctor,” is a typical statement made to chiropractors, regarding chronic pain, which is the kind of pain that lasts 3 months or more.

When a professional encounters a person with chronic pain they are going to consider three things. First, they’ll assess the sensory dimension: where’s the pain at? Second, they’ll want to know the emotional dimension: how unpleasant is the pain for that person? And third, there’s the cognitive dimension: how’s the pain based on previous experience, is it causing fear/anxiety, and how should it be responded to?

Without getting too technical, chronic pain is not good for the brain. Over time, a person may develop anxiety and depression. Pain tends to give people psychological distress and cognitive distortion. Think of it this way: the pain hurts so bad that a person can’t think straight, and because they can’t think straight they get stressed out and frustrated. Then, they don’t take good care of themselves. It’s a slippery slope where it’s easy to fall into the kind of bad times where a person wants to “give up” and “not get out of bed.”

Some chronic pain syndromes people deal with include chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and pelvic pain. These problems can lead to fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, and mood disturbances. Basically, chronic pain typically alters a person’s sleep and their cognitive function– and not in a positive way.

Have you been experiencing chronic pain in your body– especially the back and neck? Do you sometimes feel like you’ve got “brain fog?” Cognitive problems and musculoskeletal problems are often linked.

Regular visits to Lakewoods Chiropractic could help provide you some much needed relief. By reducing inflammation in the spots where you hurt, your body ultimately has the ability to heal itself. Make an appointment with chiropractor Dr. Jason Gerard at Lakewoods– call 651-464-0800 or you can email [email protected]

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