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Mind distraction effective against pain

A study published in Current Biology found that distracting the mind was an effective tool against pain.  Subjects performed cognitive intensive activities while undergoing pain.  Those who performed the more intensive cognitive activities reported a lesser degree of pain.  Researchers actually observed the spinal cord with fMRI and noted that in those with the most intense cognitive exercises the pain signals were blocked.  It was theorized that there may be a possible chemical message sent from the brain to block the pain signals.

Source: Scientific American  Photo: CC BY 2.5

Interesting study which I would suggest may parallel some of the studies on meditation.  When dealing with acute cases or counseling patients on how to handle future acute episodes we routinely teach them breathing and distraction exercise.  This has helped them cope with their episodes very well, especially if they did not have access to care.


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