Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center may have found a way to reverse chronic pain. Did you know that in the United States, there are about 100 million people who suffer from chronic pain? Chronic pain is a condition that can be very debilitating. It often leads to many years of consistent pain that does not go away.

The severity of chronic pain— pain that last longer than six months— can vary from mild to severe and it can either be persistent or occur in intervals. Chronic pain can either be not much of a problem for a person to deal with or it can be completely debilitating. The pain can last for months or even years and the longer a person suffers from it, the more a person suffers emotionally and physically.

Chronic pain can cause serious emotional problems, not only because of the physical pain, but the difficulty of finding a lasting treatment. The emotional pain can lead to feeling anxious, depressed, stressed out, angry, and fatigued. The combination of these feelings can result in a decreased amount of the production of the body’s natural painkillers. It can also make a person more sensitive to the physical pain. Due to the link between the body and the mind when suffering from chronic pain, treatment requires not only physical, but psychological treatment.  

The symptoms of chronic pain include mild to severe pain that does not go away, pain that may be feel like a shooting, burning, aching pain, feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness. The pain associated with chronic pain occurs with multiple symptoms. Other symptoms of chronic pain may include fatigue, sleeplessness, withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest, weakened immune system, changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress, or disability.

Researchers may have found a way to reverse chronic pain as they claim to have discovered the molecular pathway for chronic pain in laboratory animals. They did so by studying animals who do not feel chronic pain at all. They were able to identify a faulty gene that works by switching off the pain associated with chronic pain.

The study analyzed data from fifteen rats in which they determined that inflammation or injury causes a series of chemical events that activate the protein kinase G. This causes nerve cells to become “hyperexcitable” and sends pain signals to the brain. Whenever protein kinase G is activated, there is pain present.

Currently, people suffering with chronic pain tend to manage their condition through using medications such as painkillers. This has become a worldwide problem because painkillers have many negative side effects and many people often become addicted to or dependent on them. While the study’s findings are not ready to be used in human patients yet, the researchers hope that this could lead to a number of new treatments in the future for people suffering from chronic pain, which would stop the abuse of painkillers as a form of treatment.  

Until then, there are a number of natural ways to help alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. These include physical therapy, herbs such as turmeric, yoga, medication, acupuncture, exercise, and heat therapy. If you choose any of try any of these alternative treatments, make sure you are under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.