At Last, People Can Believe Your Pain

When visiting the doctor, one of the first questions patients are asked about their pain is, “How badly does it hurt on a scale from 0-10?”. While these pain ratings are a common method to help physicians diagnose chronic pain syndromes, they actually represent a significant barrier that doctors face in diagnosing and classifying symptoms of pain.

Chronic pain syndromes are one of the greatest healthcare problems worldwide, yet there is currently no objective method to measure either the neurophysiological causes or the severity of pain. In fact, self-reported pain symptoms are frequently dismissed as psychologically-based and left untreated. This especially affects women who are much more likely than men to receive sedatives rather than painkillers as treatment for self-reported pain symptoms. Research has shown that women who undergo coronary bypass surgery were only half as likely to be prescribed painkillers than men who receive the same procedure.

Now, a paper published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that we may be able to classify pain symptoms simply by examining a person’s brain waves. This study may be the first step towards being able to diagnose chronic pain syndromes easily and objectively.

Read the full article on Forbes

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.