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Paineurope: Issue 2, 2005. Brief Notes:

December 22, 2009 | Filed Under: Latest Readings | Comments(0)
  • Drawing on a survey of some 30,000 people, about 17 million Japanese suffer from chronic pain. The prevalence of chronic pain was 13.4%, in ¾ of whom pain is perceived to be poorly controlled. Despite this, almost 90% of patients were satisfied by the treatment provided by their physician. Half of those surveyed believed that their pain would last forever.
  • A Medical Research Council team in the UK has outlined an effective strategy for managing low-back pain. A large study compared standard primary care support with either physiotherapy or spinal manipulation. A third group received both interventions to support treatment from their general practitioner and reported the greatest improvement. Although benefits were modest, the prevalence of back pain is such that the combined approach is likely to be cost effective.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience (2004; 24:10410-15), chronic pain may cause loss of brain tissue, which may be irreversible. Using MRI data, US researchers studied 26 patients with low-back pain and 26 matched controls. Those with pain were divided into groups with neuropathic or non-neuropathic pain. Patients with neuropathic pain demonstrated shrinkage of neocortical areas (prefrontal cortex and thalamus) by as much as 11%, equivalent to grey matter loss occurring with 10-20 years of normal aging. Amount of tissue loss correlated with the length of time patients had had their pain.  The findings agree with other imaging studies that show decreased brain activity – and apparent atrophy – of the affected areas.
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