Interesting reading from BBC website!!!!

Mystery pain 'is all in the mind'

Thousands of Britons are believed to suffer from unexplained pains

Mysterious pain, such as lower back pain, may originate in the brain rather than the body, according to a study.

Scientists from University College London and the University of Pittsburgh carried out tests on eight people.

Some were hypnotised and told they were in pain. Others were subjected to physical pain. Scans showed that both experienced similar brain activity.

The researchers said the findings, published in NeuroImage, suggested that pain can sometimes begin in the brain.

"The fact that hypnosis was able to induce a genuine painful experience suggests that some pain really can begin in our minds," said Dr David Oakley, director of the hypnosis unit at UCL.

'Not imagined'

A survey published last year suggested as many as one in seven Britons are in constant pain.

In many cases, their condition cannot be explained by doctors, who are unable to identify the cause using conventional tests.

People reporting this type of pain are not simply imagining it

Dr David Oakley,

University College London

Dr Oakley said the findings showed that patients reporting mysterious pains should not be dismissed by doctors.

"A lot of people have been dismissed as malingers," he said. "People reporting this type of pain are not simply imagining it."

Dr Oakley said the findings suggest that alternative treatments for mysterious or unexplained pain should now be explored.

"If this pain has an origin in the brain it suggests that you can use other therapies, such as hypnosis, to alleviate the pain," he said.

The UK charity Pain Concern said many doctors continue to dismiss patients if they can't find a cause of their pain.

"There are still doctors writing pain off as psychological," a spokeswoman told BBC News Online. "It is a problem. It has a huge impact on patients."

7 Replies

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  • sounds a bit like we are a bit further along catching up with American research, but still so far behind. why is it that medical science here is so closed to possibilities, I thought Science was supposed to be something in which all things are possible until proven not to be so?

  • Hi, I used to work as a research psychologist so I'm very interested in research into Fibro as I'm a sufferer too. I too have noticed how far behind America we are when it comes to good research in this area. I suppose it's because American doctors recognised FMS as a condition a long time ago. I don't really care where the research is done as long as the doctors here take the evidence on board and treat us accordingly. I suspect the reason we're so far behind America is due to funding difficulties. It's so hard to secure funding and as our condition is not life threatening the money is used to find cures for terminal illnesses such as cancer. However I think that it's crazy not to fund research into FMS as it's costing the government a pretty penny in lost income tax and benefits. I for one would love to go back to work but I know that it's going to be hard to do so. Let's keep sharing scientific research with each other so that we can learn more about this nasty condition. It would be nice if we had a 'place' or 'folder' where we could post links.

  • Snap!

    I used to work as a research psychologist too many years ago!

  • What area of research? Did you stop due to FM or another reason?

  • No more mental stress as I didn't know I had fibro then. I was working in the addictions field, mainly evaluation but later also involved in more qualitative research interviewing relatives of people with substance misuse problems as we called them! How about you?

  • I think it is because we all have different pain thresholds that it must be difficult but not impossible but if you dont believe there is a reason for pain you will never under stand the illness so please doctors listen to youre patience and believe them yes there will be malingerers but if you understand the illness doing youre job you will soon catch them out

  • Yes, there is evidence to suggest that this is true, if a car runs you over and you are rendered unconscious, as long as you remain unconscious, you won't feel any pain. :)

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