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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 28

Life (Basel)



Mechanisms behind the Development of Chronic Low Back Pain and Its Neurodegenerative Features.


Chronic back pain is complex and there is no guarantee that treating its potential causes will cause the pain to go away. Therefore, rather than attempting to "cure" chronic pain, many clinicians, caregivers and researchers aim to help educate patients about their pain and try to help them live a better quality of life despite their condition. A systematic review has demonstrated that patient education has a large effect on pain and pain related disability when done in conjunction with treatments. Therefore, understanding and updating our current state of knowledge of the pathophysiology of back pain is important in educating patients as well as guiding the development of novel therapeutics. Growing evidence suggests that back pain causes morphological changes in the central nervous system and that these changes have significant overlap with those seen in common neurodegenerative disorders. These similarities in mechanisms may explain the associations between chronic low back pain and cognitive decline and brain fog. The neurodegenerative underpinnings of chronic low back pain demonstrate a new layer of understanding for this condition, which may help inspire new strategies in pain education and management, as well as potentially improve current treatment.