Brain neuroimaging may provide valuable insight into the mechanism of action of therapies used to treat chronic pain and help to bolster the use of integrated, patient-centered approaches to treat the condition.
Why this matters
Chronic pain affects >100 million US citizens and costs in excess of $500 million annually to treat. The condition is complex as it encompasses both physical and emotional components, including depression, anxiety, catastrophizing, and passive coping.
As a result, international guidelines are increasingly recommending the use of integrated, patient-centered approaches managed by interdisciplinary teams to treat the condition in an effective, low-risk and cost-effective manner.
Brian neuroimaging could be used to complement traditional methods of reporting changes in pain by providing greater understanding of neural mechanisms of treatment.