A new study published in the journal, Anesthesiology, was put together by a research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The use of new technology called arterial spin labeling made it possible for the team to track changes in brain activity in patients of chronic back pain. It was found that spikes of pain led to differences in the imaging.
Not surprisingly, those areas of the brain affected during periods of worsening pain are the same that have long been labeled as pain and mood sensors. However, there were areas, such as the superior parietal lobule that demonstrated amplified action, but were not frequently tied to pain in the past.
There were three sessions of imaging, which utilized different positioning of the patient to try to increase or decrease the levels of discomfort and track the results within the brain. In the third session, heat was applied to the skin to mimic pain levels of the previous imaging period.
Increased brain activity was only apparent during periods of increasing pain. Though the patients reported constant soreness, nothing registered with the arterial spin labeling until the pain threshold was pushed further.
The findings were significant, thanks to the sixteen participants, each of which suffered from chronic back pain. This is yet another step taken toward properly diagnosing and treating patients. Furthermore, this could also serve to create individual plans of attack to best benefit the millions of sufferers in the world today.
For more details about this study, you can continue reading at http://www.sciencedaily.com
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