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Canada Medicine Science

Erasing Neuronal Memories May Help Control Chronic Pain 80

An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers led by McGill neuroscientist Terence Coderre, who is also affiliated with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, has found the key to understanding how memories of pain are stored in the brain. More importantly, the researchers are also able to suggest how these memories can be erased, making it possible to ease chronic pain."
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Erasing Neuronal Memories May Help Control Chronic Pain

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  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:30PM (#39040727) Journal

    I can't tell you how much I hope they manage to find a non-opiate way to handle chronic pain. I'm not on them any more, but they are a bitch even when they make life bearable. But there is a difference between physical and emotional pain. I know it's a fact that one can lead to the other (I've experienced it) but normally they have different causes/initiators. And if you can nip one in the bud fast enough, it will stop the spill over effect to the other.

    I had a really pinched nerve in my back before (L5/S1) caused by a ruptured disk. Really bad... could barely walk, and not more than a few paces without assistance (and sometimes lying down in just the right position was the only way I could be). Incredible pain, permanent nerve damage, partial paralysis of some muscles in the leg (most of which has come back), and incredible pain where even a mostly nonreligious person like myself would sometimes be reduced to praying for it to stop. Lasted about 9 or 10 months till surgery fixed it about 70%. Yay.

    I would have loved something like this if it meant I wouldn't have had to deal with opiates like 80mg Oxycontin to make life livable. And most especially so that I wouldn't have had to endure the physical and emotional effects when weening myself off that shit after the surgery took away almost all the pain (my doc was totally surprised when I told him I was off the shit several months after the surgery... without his help). I think getting off opiates messes you up almost as long as the injury. People don't get it: once you've had that harsh shit in your system for more than a few months, and at high doses (2 or 3 80s a day... and no it didn't stop all the pain but managed it), just getting it out of your system is the start. It tickles that part of the brain so long and so hard that you literally have a hole in your psyche that doesn't fill in for months and months and months and .... You know something is missing. And then there is the recovering from the emotional turmoil that the pain caused. Put the two together and it took at least a year or so to find an even keel for me. And I know I can be an irritable and maybe :) and irritating fuck at the best of times... but I was a champion then.

    I didn't like being on it because it makes you dull. But unlike what many think, it doesn't totally incapacitate you and you can function. Anyway... I hope like hell they find something to help people with chronic pain that works and is more benign than what is out there now. I don't like having to take acetaminophen or NSAIDs [wikipedia.org] every day. I could probably argue for low dose oxys from my doc, but I don't fucking want those... period. Here's to the folks at McGill!

  • Re:the leap? (Score:5, Informative)

    by repapetilto ( 1219852 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:45PM (#39040825)

    No, this didn't have to do with conscious memories. This study was about the neurons in your spinal cord "remembering" pain from a tissue that is no longer sending painful signals. They placed a little blood pressure cuff thing around a rats ankle to limit blood flow for 3 hours, then removed it... this process damaged the tissue. A couple weeks later the tissue was healed, but the circuits in the spinal cord were altered to make the rat still feel pain in that paw. They then injected a compound into the spinal cords of some rats that apparently relieved the chronic pain. I don't see any control

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