A Future Without Chronic Pain - Dana Foundation | Learning, Brain & Cognitive Fitness | Scoop.it

Chronic pain affects 1.5 billion people worldwide, an estimated 100 million of whom live in the United States. "Most chronic pain conditions produce changes in the brain that contribute to what can be termed the “centralization of pain.” This implies that ongoing pain produces progressive alterations in brain connections, molecular biology, chemistry, and structure, with behavioral consequences. One brain region consistently affected in chronic pain conditions is called the dorsolateral prefrontal lobe, a region in the front of our brains thought to be involved in several higher-order functions, including cognition, motor planning, and working memory. This centralization of pain involves alterations in sensory, emotional, and modulatory circuits, which normally inhibit pain. Thus chronic pain may alter cognition and emotion, leading to increased fear, anxiety, or depression."