This week in Australia was National Pain Week.
One strategy for chronic pain sufferers is distraction.
Research into pain indicates the mitigating effects of distractions such as, mental imagery, listening to preferred music, and a task involving the spatial discrimination of brush stimuli on the skin.
However, the only distraction which eliminated the pain flexor reflex (RIII reflex) i.e. reflexively moving the limb away from the source of the pain, was the brush stimuli task.
Those in the trial who were asked to focus on the pain, felt it much more severely than all of the distracted subjects.
The findings suggest that pain-inhibiting messages are sent down the spinal cord from the base of the brain to inhibit the pain receptors.
This brings hope that there will be some future long-lasting therapies for the treatment of chronic pain.