Health

New study finds brain-based treatment for chronic back pain

“Our study shows that discussing pain attributions with patients and helping them understand that pain is often ‘in the brain’ can help reduce pain,” said Yoni Ashar, PhD, assistant professor at the University’s Anschutz Medical Campus. from Colorado.

To study the effects of pain attributions, researchers enrolled more than 150 adults experiencing moderately severe chronic back pain in a randomized trial to receive PRT and found that two-thirds of people treated with PRT reported being free of pain or almost no pain after treatment, compared to only 20 percent of placebo controls.

“This study is vitally important because patients’ pain attributions are often inaccurate. We found that very few people believed their brains had anything to do with their pain. This can be unhelpful and detrimental when trying to plan recovery , as pain attributions guide major treatment decisions, such as whether to undergo surgery or psychological treatment,” Ashar said.

According to the researchers, before PRT treatment, only 10 percent of participants’ attributions to PRT treatment were related to the mind or brain.

However, after PRT, this increased to 51 percent, showing that the more participants came to view their pain as due to mental or brain processes, the greater the reduction in the intensity of chronic back pain.

“Our study shows that discussing pain attributions with patients and helping them understand that pain is often ‘in the brain’ can help reduce pain,” Ashar said.

“Often, discussions with patients focus on the biomedical causes of pain. The role of the brain is rarely discussed. With this research, we want to give patients the greatest relief possible by exploring different treatments, including those that address the brain drivers of chronic pain,” he added.

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