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Medical News and Perspectives
June 15, 2005

Pain and the Brain: Researchers Focus on Tackling Pain Memories

JAMA. 2005;293(23):2845-2846. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2845

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.

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