Emotional Issues a Factor in Pain A 2007 study was the first to directly compare the brain areas involved in processing osteoarthritis (OA) pain and experimental pain. The results indicated that emotions play a strong role in how patients feel arthritis pain. Advances in neuro-imaging have led to the discovery that the brain processes pain in a network of brain structures that have been called the pain matrix. The pain matrix contains two parallel systems: the medial pain system, which processes the emotional aspects of pain, and the lateral system, which processes the physical sensations.
The 2007 study examined 12 patients with knee OA. All subjects had their brain activity measured with positron emission tomography (PET) while experiencing arthritic knee pain, experimental pain achieved by heat application, and while pain-free. Both pain conditions activated the entire pain matrix. However, activity was increased within the medial pain system of the brain during arthritic pain. This suggests that arthritis pain has a stronger emotional impact than experimental pain. Arthritis pain also activated areas of the brain that control attention; this may be the result of patients concentrating on coping strategies. Arthritis & Rheumatism, Vol. 56, No. 4, April 2007: 1345-1354 EurekAlert March 28, 2007
Steve’s Comment: Your emotional state plays a role in nearly every physical disease. Even the conservative government public health agency CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that 85 percent of all diseases have an emotional element. I believe it is much higher. Nearly every doctor will confirm this and tell you that anxiety and stress are the primary reasons why most people get sick. It can lead to or worsen conditions ranging from heart disease to depression to arthritis.Your mind has an enormous influence over what you perceive — and deserves far more credit than you likely give it. In many ways this is simply another variant of the power of intention. We typically tend to manifest in our lives what we put our focus and attention on. Most of us tend to focus on pain, misery and grief so we tend to experience more of that in our life. If we focus on what we want to experience and put some energy into healthy lifestyle choices, your body really doesn’t have much of a choice. Before you know it you will start to feel much better. Quite simply, it’s one of the most amazing and remarkable transformations that you could possibly imagine. Go ahead and take a leap of faith and try it.