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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pain in Spain stays mainly in the brain

Ahh... relief!   (Photo by Lusilier) 
Ever wonder why some people seem better able to endure pain than others?

Researchers at the University of Luxembourg did also, so they embarked upon a series of experiments to help discover why. 
MSN Healthy Living reports that their findings had to do with the brain’s ability to assist the body in dealing with pain.

This research was based upon Pavlov’s successful conditioning of dogs to salivate at the ringing of a bell.  The human brain’s ability to mask pain (in Spain and elsewhere) can be strengthened by a somewhat similar method.

The Luxembourg researchers utilized painful electric impulses and icy pain inhibitors as part of their experiments.  Human participants that were given painful electric jolts were afterwards asked to place their hands in ice buckets of water while bells were ringing.

In this way, the participants were trained to associate the ringing of bells with the pain relief of ice-water therapy.  Eventually, the sound of bells alone served as a pain-reduction stimulus for them.

Unfortunately, this brain/pain connection can also work in reverse.  Lead researcher Raymonde Scheuren explains:  …similar learning effects may be involved in the enhancement and maintenance of pain in some patients. 

Copyright July 16, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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