Japanese male businessman who suffers back pain from working from home

New Study Suggests You Can “Unlearn” Chronic Back Pain and Become Pain-Free

Chronic back pain affects millions of Americans. Most, however, cannot identify the source. Neither can all the x-rays, tests, or other tools that doctors have to diagnose problems.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, most treatments don’t work.

About 85 percent of people who report chronic back pain don’t have a test to highlight a cause. They go through physical therapy and medication to no avail. But a new study suggests that a few weeks may be all that is needed to unlearn pain.

Most treatments for chronic pain operate under the assumption that it’s caused by the body. This new work was done under the premise that the brain can generate pain in the absence of an injury or after an injury has healed. By unlearning that pain, sufferers may be able to relieve themselves.

The study had very strong results. It involved 151 men and women who experienced back pain for at least six months. They took part in a four-week psychological treatment called Pain Reprocessing Therapy, attending eight one-hour sessions.

The findings were published in JAMA Psychology.

Results showed that two-thirds were pain-free or nearly pain-free after treatment and they stayed that way for one year. Sixty-six percent in the treatment group were pain-free or nearly pain-free compared to 20 percent who got a sham therapy and 10 percent who got no treatment.

Researchers explained that neural pathways are partly to blame for how people experience pain. Different brain regions are activated more often during chronic pain than acute pain. Certain neural networks in chronic pain patients are sensitive to overreact to mild stimuli.

Therefore, by thinking about pain as something safe instead of threatening, patients may be able to neutralize it.

This seems to be what happened during the study. Brain scans revealed that brain regions associated with pain processing had quieted significantly after treatment.

If you’ve been experiencing untreatable chronic pain, this is an avenue worth exploring. It may have lasting effects to help you restore a pain-free life.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.

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