Some brains may be hard-wired for chronic pain
Not all brains are alike, and scientists are beginning to believe that differences in their structure can reflect who might be more prone to chronic pain. A new study at Northwestern University found that the structural differences in white brain matter – the area comprising long connections between neurons and brain regions – were different in people who recovered from pain than those who developed chronic pain.
Researchers took a group of 46 people who all had lower back pain and scanned their brains over a period of about three months. Then the researchers followed up and analyzed the pain four times during the following year. Half of the patients recovered during that year, the other half had continuous pain.
While more research is needed on this topic, this study provides insight into the possible causes of how acute pain from an injury can develop into chronic pain in some people, but not others.