New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

April 20, 2015

People who suffer from chronic pain are sometimes met with skepticism because medical tests can’t conclusively prove the existence of such discomfort, but now new methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment. 

Chronic pain, that lasts for months and years, afflicts one out of every five people. It can lead to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up....

...But a session with Harvard researcher Clas Linnman may be more productive.

Using Positron Emission tomography to map inflammation, he has been able to show that even without obvious tissue damage, people who report whiplash pain have more inflammation in their necks. For the pain of tennis elbow, the inflammation is near the elbow.

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