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What chronic pain does to the brain

Lauren Walker All Fit/All Ages Gym

I started wondering the emotional, mental and physical affects chronic pain has on people. Long term pain has a far reaching effect on the central nervous system. It’s been classified as a neurological disease all its own. It’s also leads to symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is caused by altered emotional and mental states of the central nervous system.

What is the Central Nervous system?

“The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. It is referred to as “central” because it combines information from the entire body and coordinates activity across the whole organism” (

Let’s look at how chronic pain affects the brain.

  1. Mood According to a blog on “Living with pain can affect a person’s mood by making someone more susceptible to emotional changes that can foster depression”.

  2. Sleep– It is often impossible for people to fall asleep and stay asleep when they are in pain. This causes an overall deficit in the amount of sleep that is required which is 7-9 hours.

  3. Memory– “A study conducted by the University of Alberta shows that pain not only affects one’s physical, emotional, and mental states, but it can also affect a person’s memory and concentration.” It affects your ability to remember and stay focused in the moment.

  4. Relationships– The physical limitations that develop can mean you exert less patience with those around you. It can negatively impact your interactions with others and therefore you are more inclined to stay home.

Learning how to cope with chronic pain requires support from your medical practitioner, family and friends. I cannot discount the effect of exercise and its effect on your overall mental and physical wellness. Next month we will delve in to how exercise can help manage chronic pain.

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