Friday, January 24, 2014

Pain Sensivity Related to Brain Structure

 Medscape Medical News
"An individual's sensitivity to pain appears to be related to the amount of grey matter in certain regions of the brain, a new study suggests.

"This is the first time that a relationship has been shown between pain sensitivity and brain structure. This initial discovery adds to our basic understanding of brain mechanisms and could lead to clinical implications in pain management," senior author, Robert Coghill, PhD, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, commented to Medscape Medical News....

Results showed that individuals with higher pain intensity ratings had less grey matter in the posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, and areas of the posterior parietal cortex — areas of the brain that contribute to internal thoughts and control of attention.

Pain is very good at getting your attention, but it may be possible to change your pain sensitivity by practicing directing your thoughts elsewhere," Dr. Coghill told Medscape Medical News. "For example, meditation and mindfulness training, in which you learn how to better control your thoughts, has been shown to be associated with a remarkable reduction in pain intensity."

In addition, he said, individuals who have meditated over the long term have been shown to have more grey matter in certain areas. "So it does seem possible to build up grey matter, and train the brain to be less sensitive to pain," he said."
Links for tips about mindfulness meditation: