Acupuncture re-wires the brain!
Updated: Oct 21, 2018
A recent study in China used MRI scanning to look at the changes in the brain of patients that had undergone acupuncture treatment for chronic sciatic. In addition to the acupuncture proving to be effective for reducing the pain of chronic sciatica, the researchers found that the follow up MRIs showed that the acupuncture had changed the functional state of the brain such that patients had greater resting states associated with reduced pain levels. The fact that this study showed that acupuncture helped change the way the brain registers pain is fascinating and very hopeful, and it builds on previous research showing the same thing, (for example, this systematic review of seven studies found the same thing).
To read more about this particular study, click here...
People with chronic pain have brains that have effectively got "too good" at feeling pain, because they have some sort of condition or injury that means the brain regularly receives pain signals from nerves, and the brain eventually starts to overreact to even the smallest stimulus. This means it can end up making its owner feel a considerable level of pain which is out of proportion to the original message sent by the nerves.
A key part of helping chronic pain sufferers is re-educating the brain in how it responds to these signals from nerves. Having been a chronic pain patient myself in the past, and having done my dissertation research on chronic pain, this sort of research makes my day!