R.E.M. was right -- everybody hurts, sometimes. But when it comes to chronic physical pain, you don't just hurt sometimes -- the pain is always present. This constant aching has driven an entire industry towards finding the reason why some people experience chronic pain -- and more importantly, how to stop that pain and let the sufferers go back to their normal lives.
Fortunately, technology has become more innovative over the last few decades, and with these innovations come new information about chronic pain. If you feel like you've tried everything to get rid of your chronic pain (to no avail), then here are a couple innovations to give you hope for the very near future.
Breakthrough #1: Pain imaging
The source of chronic pain has mystified doctors for decades, but a breakthrough in finding where the pain originates in the brain may lead to more focused treatments. The problem with chronic pain is the same problem with lightning; it never seems to strike two people in exactly the same way.
However, recent brain imaging shows a common denominator -- high levels of a certain protein (which is linked to inflammation) in the thalamus, which is the section of the brain that processes pain. These images highlight the thalamus so clearly as a center of pain that the scientists running the experiment were able to identify which subjects were experiencing chronic pain just by looking at the images of the subjects' brains.
This imaging technique can allow doctors to identify and quantify the pain being felt by their patient, which goes a long way towards figuring out how chronic pain works and where it comes from.
Breakthrough #2: Better medicine
Pain medication can be a tricky science, and tends to fall into one of two categories. Either the medication will become inert over time as the body gets used to it, or it will become heavily addicting. Neither one of these options are great, so finding medication that helps with pain without damaging the body or becoming useless has become a medical needle-in-a-haystack search.
Up until now, at least.
A new pain medication called tanezumab is trying to enter Phase III clinical testing, and promises to be a completely new innovation when it comes to chronic pain -- especially pains caused by different types of cancers and osteoarthritis. It works by targeting the nerve growth factor (NGF), which has led to promising results when looking at the skeletal pain of animals. While the medicine might not be available for a few years, it is a promising leap forward in dealing with chronic pain.
Visit a pain institute, such as Illinois Pain Institute, to deal with your chronic pain.Share