A study in Chicago has revealed that pain may cause a shrinkage in the old grey matter. Preliminary results of a study done by the American Pain Society saw shrinkage in the "thinking" part of the brain in persons suffering from chronic back pain.
The researchers are now trying to find out if the back pain or the shrinkage comes first. If it turns out the pain causes the brain shrinkage then: "the urgency to cure chronic pain becomes more important."
In comparisons between healthy people and those with chronic back pain it was noted that the latter had less grey matter in the thalamus region of the brain, a doctor said "We have shown that brain chemistry is abnormal in chronic back pain patients"