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05-Mar-2020 21:11 by 9 Comments

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Dr Moskowitz, who originally trained as psychiatrist, specialises in treating patients with intractable pain in California.But he became a world leader in the use of neuroplasticity for treating pain after making discoveries while treating himself.

He realised that many of the areas in the brain that fire in chronic pain also process thoughts, sensations, images, memories, movements, emotions, and beliefs - when they are not processing pain, that is.

'I believe in trying to cure persistent pain.'One of the extraordinary people I've met during my research is John Pepper, 77, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's more than two decades ago.

He was put on medication, but because of a programme he developed was eventually able to stop taking it nine years ago.

Then he would imagine the problem areas shrinking.'I had to be even more relentless than the pain signal itself,' he told me.

He greeted every twinge with an image of that area of his brain shrinking, knowing he was forcing his posterior cingulate and posterior parietal lobes to process a visual image.

One of his most important insights is that opioid narcotic drugs, such as codeine or tramadol can make chronic pain worse.

The brain adapts to being inundated by long-term opioids by becoming less sensitive to them, which can make chronic pain worse.

In other words, pain files an accurate damage report about the extent of the injury, and the brain's role is to simply accept that report.

But that view was overturned in the Sixties - we now understand that the pain perception system is spread through the brain and spinal cord, too, and the brain controls how much we feel.

But the brain can also close a gate and block the pain signal by releasing endorphins, the natural narcotics made by our bodies to quell pain.

At the start of this century, however, scientists began to prove that our adult brain circuits constantly reconfigure and change.

The role of acute pain is to alert us to injury or disease by sending a signal to the brain.