Boston—People experiencing pain would
likely be offended if told it is all in their head. But brain research is
providing information indicating that, for some patients, some aspects of
pain are a learned response and can be treated with behavioral therapies.
For decades, pain has been viewed as a multidimensional experience with
psychological, behavioral, and physiological components. But only recently
have scientists been able to visualize the changes that occur in the brain
when pain is perceived and when it is treated. As discussed at the annual
meeting of the American Pain Society held here earlier this spring, it is
becoming clear that both physiological and behavioral therapies have varying
but sometimes comparable effects on patients, and that individualized interventions
may be the best way to relieve patients’ pain.
Hampton T. Pain and the Brain: Researchers Focus on Tackling Pain Memories. JAMA. 2005;293(23):2845–2846. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2845