Pain Relief Through Distraction: It’s Not All in Your Head

Distract Pain In Your HeadMental distractions make pain easier to take, and those pain-relieving effects aren’t just in your head, according to a report published online on May 17 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

The findings based on high-resolution spinal fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) as people experienced painful levels of heat show that mental distractions actually inhibit the response to incoming pain signals at the earliest stage of central pain processing.

"The results demonstrate that this phenomenon is not just a psychological phenomenon, but an active neuronal mechanism reducing the amount of pain signals ascending from the spinal cord to higher-order brain regions," said Christian Sprenger of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Those effects involve endogenous opioids, which are naturally produced by the brain and play a key role in the relief of pain, the new evidence shows.

Full story of distracting pain at Science Daily

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Will Savage

Quantum Units Continuing Education provides online CEU training's to licensed professional mental health therapists, counselors, social workers and nurses. Our blog provides updates in the field of news and research related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.