A recent New York Times article (July 2018) discussed how pain education programs for people with chronic pain – are leading to better outcomes. The times article referenced a Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology report on an interesting clinical study.
120 women and men with chronic neck or back pain were divided into two groups.
Group 1. These patients received standard exercises and physical therapy.
Group 2. This group were given what the researchers called a “Pain neuroscience education.” Patients learned some of the science behind pain including:
- How nerve fibers send pain to the brain by the spinal cord.
- What synapses and neurons are.
- How “pain itself can modify central nervous system functions, producing pain with even the mildest stimulation.”
Along with learning about pain management science, patients were given different movement routines that focused on “functionality rather than pain relief, and trying to continue exercising despite the pain.”
The study took place over a three-month time period. That patients were then re-examined after six months and after 12 months.
The study found that the second Group, the education group, had higher thresholds of pain, reduced disability, and better physical and mental health.
The study, according to the “lead author, Anneleen Malfliet, a doctoral candidate at the Free University of Brussels,” indicates that learning about pain and asking questions helps achieve better results than just worrying about your pain. Activity and movement are generally more helpful than just resting and hoping the pain will go away.
The information is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition.
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