Chronic pain: Expert says turmeric may be 'worth a try'
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Scientists from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) have successfully managed to identify neural mechanisms in the brain whereby sound can blunt pain.
What this means is they have worked out how sound can be used to reduce pain.
NIDCR director Rena D’Souza said: “We need more effective methods of managing acute and chronic pain, and that starts with gaining a better understanding of the basic neural processes that regulate pain.
“By uncovering the circuitry that mediates the pain-reducing effects, this study adds critical knowledge that could ultimately inform new approaches for pain therapy.”
While the results are promising, there is a small caveat; the study was conducted on mice.
Although mice brains share some similarities with human brains, this doesn’t mean a human cranium would react in the same way.
As a result, further research is required before sound therapy could become available for use by chronic pain patients.
This is a caveat recognised by the researchers who suggest this could explain why music can have such a positive temporary impact on humans.
How can people manage chronic pain?
Meanwhile, despite the fact sound therapy may not be used for some time; there are still ways people can manage their pain.
One of the suggested management tools is exercise.
The NHS say it is importance to choose an exercise that “won’t put too much strain on yourself”.
Furthermore, the NHS add its important people continue to try and work if they can: “Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when don’t work.
“Being at work may distract you from the pain and might not make it worse.”
Physical therapy is also suggested; muscle manipulation, stretching, and pain-relief exercises can also help to temporarily assuage the discomfort.
However, if the pain is significant enough, many people also use painkillers.
While painkillers can help, they can have some side effects if taken incorrectly.
The exact nature of the side effects is present on the leaflet present with each medication.
Should a person experience a side effect not listed, there is still a way report the issue.
In the UK, this is done through the Yellow Card Scheme, one set up by the government in the mid-1960s to allow people to report issues with medicines and medicinal products.
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