What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts over three months, and it can affect all areas of the body. It may come and go, or exist all the time. Chronic pain does not only hurt the body, it can have negative impacts on the brain. Chronic pain is a common condition that affects millions of adults in the United States, and it is one of the most common reasons for individuals to seek medical care.
How does chronic pain affect the brain?
There are a number of psychological effects that chronic pain has on the brain.
Mood and Emotions
Individuals who experience chronic pain have a higher risk for mental health conditions because of hormonal imbalance. When the body is in pain, stress hormones are released. Chronic pain causes cortisol to remain at elevated levels, which can cause irritability or anger. Experiencing chronic pain can also impact everyday life. Individuals may be limited in their ability to work, spend time with family and friends, and participate in activities that bring joy, thus causing additional stress. Over time the impacts of chronic pain could lead to anxiety and depression.
Chronic pain has been linked to a reduced volume of grey matter in the brain. Grey matter is the area of the brain that controls learning, attention, and memory amongst other functions. Chronic pain changes structural and functional components in the brain, which leads to changes in bodily functions as well.
Insomnia is a common complication of chronic pain. Pain can make it difficult to fall asleep at night, and can prevent deep sleep due to wakings in the middle of the night. Poor sleep patterns also have a negative impact on the brain. Sleep restores the brain by removing toxins that build up during waking hours, and it regenerates parts of the brain to help it function optimally.
You don’t have to live with chronic pain.
At Regenerative Medical Institute, we offer a number of treatment options to manage pain naturally. Visit our website to explore options, or schedule a free consultation by calling 877-573-3737.