Really enjoying my second year running guest lecturing at the local
University. Yesterday we were talking about pain and the brain.
Check out this slide from my talk which shows how the brain of someone in persistent pain lights up, there are actually over 400 different parts of the brain that light up when you experience pain, particularly when it is persistent or chronic (lasting over 3 months).
Research shows that when asked to do a simple task the brain of people not suffering from chronic pain quietens down and concentrates on the task at hand. But people that suffer from chronic pain continue to have many area of their brain active whilst trying to do the same task. This explains how pain affect concentration and why being in persistent pain can be exhausting and draining.
Another really interesting fact is that when we talk about our pain it lights up the same areas of our brain as when we physically perform a painful activity!
The good thing is these changes are reversible, understanding how pain works is the first step to getting back in control and having less pain.