Chronic pain changes our immune systems | Channels – McGill University – By Cynthia Lee – Jan 2016
Many anti-opioid folks believe it’s always better not to prescribe/take opioids because they are so extremely dangerous, while pain is “just a feeling” that a person can “deal with”.
However, they are wrong. Pain is not just a “feeling”.
Leaving pain poorly controlled can lead to changes in how our genes are expressed, especially in the immune system.
Pain is the body’s alarm system, intended to get you moving to either fight or flee. It’s an extreme stressor which initiates a chain of biochemical consequences, including those that turn some of our genes on and off. Continue reading
Chronic Pain Harms The Brain — ScienceDaily — February 6, 2008
This article isn’t new and I’ve posted it before, but it’s a classic, providing scientific evidence of the damage done to our brains by uncontrolled chronic pain. We can use it to argue against the anti-opioid articles that claim addiction is much more serious than chronic pain.
While the media endlessly churns out stories of people succumbing to addiction, those of us living with constant severe pain relieved only by opioids remain invisible to the public. We remain unmentioned and unseen, while these three FALSEHOODS are propagated by the media.
- most people become addicted to opioid medication they are taking purely for pain control
- anyone taking opioids for more than a month is an addict and any pain they feel is either suffering from hyperalgesia or is “catastrophizing”.
- opioids have no legitimate use beyond limited post-injury pain (and cancer, of course)
Pain is assumed to be either curable (an injury) or in our heads (chronic). People believe chronic pain is only a “feeling” and doesn’t result in actual damage like an injury would. But they are WRONG.
Here is a list of posts (21, through Dec 2016) covering the damage caused by uncontrolled chronic pain, both physical and mental.
While the news is filled with stories of damages from opioid abuse, the damages of pain itself are never mentioned anywhere in the media.
This leaves the public completely ignorant of all the biological damages pain patients suffer if they are not provided effective pain relief quickly.
These are arguments for allowing pain patients access to opioids, showing how important it is to eradicate pain by any means possible as soon as possible. Continue reading
“results indicate that chronic pain …
interferes with motivated behavior“
Decreased motivation during chronic pain requires long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens – Science. 2014 Aug 1; – free full-text PMC article
People with chronic pain know how tiring it is to deal with pain every day all day and I thought this fatigue explained why I have so much trouble getting up off the couch.
This study suggests that our pain triggers changes in the brain that depress the nucleus accumbens core (NAc), which is a key node of the neural circuits mediating motivated behaviors, Continue reading
The dynamic effect of pain on attention – Body in Mind – 12/14/16
Pain tends to grab our attention, making it difficult to concentrate on other tasks.
This is generally a useful feature of pain – if we burn ourselves while cooking, it’s good that our attention switches away from the food and towards the pain so that we can adequately protect ourselves.
However, if the pain doesn’t signal threat (e.g. a tension headache) or if it becomes chronic, this could have negative consequences for our ability to concentrate, with no benefit to our safety. Continue reading
Distinct Sets of Genes are Activated in Post-Surgical and Chronic Pain Conditions– Clincial Pain Advisor – Florence Chaverneff, Ph.D. – December 02, 2016
The locations of epigenetic changes brought on by pain show how long-term pain affects numerous areas of our physical functioning, including:
- cell-mediated immune response,
- amino acid metabolism,
- humoral response (involves substances found in the humors, or body fluids), and
- cell cycle.
Such epigenetic changes could be ameliorated if the pain stimulation is blocked long enough (with opioids or whatever means necessary) to allow the changes to reverse themselves (as they do with acute pain). Continue reading
What chronic pain does to your brain – ABC News Australia – March 2016 – by Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis
At least one in five Australians lives with chronic pain, and often the cause is unknown. Scientists are just now discovering the crucial role the brain plays in how pain is experienced, and how it might pave the way for innovative treatment, write Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis.
‘At the moment we have focused our work to two areas in the brain,’ says Dr Sylvia Gustin from Neuroscience Research Australia. ‘One is called the thalamus—the other is the prefrontal cortex.’
Described as the ‘border in the brain’, the thalamus acts as the gateway between the spinal cord and higher brain centres. Continue reading
What Happens When Pain Goes Untreated?
Untreated or under-treated pain is more than uncomfortable. There are profound effects in someone who lives with pain
A 1999 Chinese study of cancer patients showed that, after taking into account the effects of cancer, the more pain someone had, the worse the effects on their health and how they functioned.
Understandably, the relationship between the severity of pain and impairment was nonlinear: patients with no pain or only mild pain were significantly better functioning than those with moderate and severe pain. Continue reading
The Importance of Treating Chronic Pain — Pain News Network – Dec 2015 – By Emily Ulrich, Columnist
Jane Ballantyne, MD, and Mark Sullivan, MD, wrote that reducing pain intensity – pain relief – should not be the primary goal of doctors who treat pain patients.
They suggest that patients should learn to accept their pain and move on with their lives.
This statement is nothing short of infuriating to me and I imagine to anyone who has to live with chronic pain. Many of us have already heard a doctor say, “I don’t prescribe pain medicine. Pain won’t kill you.” Continue reading