Pain processing therapy Can Help Manage Chronic Pain, Study Shows 

In Education

A recent research paper published in JAMA Network Open has offered valuable insights into assisting individuals dealing with persistent back pain.

The research investigated the crucial relationship between the human brain and pain management in the context of chronic pain treatment. More specifically, the study explored the significance of individuals’ pain attributions, which are their perceptions regarding the root causes of their pain, in mitigating the severity of chronic back pain.

Pain processing therapy important in managing chronic pain

According to the study’s first author and internal medicine assistant professor at Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Yoni Ashar, Numerous individuals are currently grappling with persistent pain, and a significant portion of them remains without effective solutions to alleviate their discomfort. This underscores a notable gap in our current approaches to diagnosing and managing pain.

Researchers examined whether the reassignment of pain attribution to mental or cerebral processes correlated with pain alleviation within the context of pain reprocessing therapy (PRT). PRT is an approach that instructs individuals on reinterpreting pain signals sent to their brain as less menacing. Their primary aim was to gain deeper insights into the recovery process of individuals suffering from chronic back pain. The research findings indicated that following PRT, patients experienced a decrease in the intensity of their back pain.

Pain is usually ‘in the brain’

Ashar said that the study showed that discussing pain attributions with client and informing them that pain is usually ‘in the brain’ will help them reduce pain.

In the study on pain attributions, more than 150 adults with moderately severe chronic back pain participated in a randomized trial for PRT treatment. The results showed that around two-thirds of those receiving PRT reported significant pain relief, while only 20% of the placebo group experienced similar relief.

Ashar explained that the study highlights the significance of accurate pain attributions among patients. Few individuals recognize the connection between their brains and their pain, which can hinder proper treatment planning. Accurate pain attributions are crucial for guiding treatment choices, including surgery or psychological therapy.

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