Combatting the Biological Burden of Pain, Part 2

Author: Emily Bartley

Dr. Bartley: There have been a number of studies that have looked at various interventions in terms of reducing stress responsiveness, also reducing gene expression that’s associated with enhanced inflammatory signaling. I think this is probably an area that is really going to start to burgeon and we’re  going to start to see some nice effects from some of these interventions. I think that in terms of treatments to invest in, traditionally we’ve been focused on kind of a vulnerability path. What are the vulnerability and the risk factors associated with pain, its development, its maintenance? And not that we should exclude that, because that’s a key piece of the puzzle, but I think that we should also take a dual perspective, not just these vulnerability factors but really focusing in on the resilience factors – what are personal strengths that can help people adapt to the complexities of pain? Being able to incorporate both of these into a treatment package may have some benefits in bolstering our current pain therapies.

Dr. Sibille: And just to reiterate Dr. Bartley’s comments from the brain’s perspective, we can enhance functioning, we can target things if we think of the brain like a muscle. Resilience factors allow for a focused effort to hopefully develop those abilities and skills. By working with patients and not only trying to reduce the risk factors but also develop the things that we want them to have in order to function more effectively, that’s where I think we’re going to see an improvement in outcomes. I think clinicians have a unique opportunity to encourage where people can take action and demonstrate initiative that would be beneficial to them.

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