Scientists discover that heightened levels of communication between different parts of the brain increase your chances of developing chronic pain after an injury.
Whether you are a construction worker, a nurse, or an accountant, back pain is something to be feared. Nothing can ruin a day like the sting of a pinched nerve or a sore muscle along your spine. But what happens when a day of pain turns into weeks, or months? Why does some people’s pain persist while others with similar injuries heal?
A new study published in Nature Neuroscience has elucidated the differences between people who heal quickly after suffering a back injury, and those who do not. According to a team of Northwestern University researchers, the difference lies in the level of connectivity, that is the amount of communication that occurs, between the brain’s nucleus accumbens and the prefontal cortex.
This study not only marks an important step towards identifying patients who are more likely to develop chronic pain, but also lends support to the age-old saying that pain really is all in your head.