Pain is a natural reaction to illness or injury, but the perception of pain is subjective, influenced by psychological, socio-cultural, and neurobiological factors. Most pain goes away with the healing of injuries, but when it persists for months even without known triggers it is called chronic pain disorder. According to the Center for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) 2016 data, an estimated 20% of adults in the U.S. suffered from chronic pain disorder. The high prevalence of chronic pain among adults makes it necessary to understand the causes, pathophysiology, and different targets of therapies of pain. Chronic pain patients show symptoms of anxiety, cognitive disorders, and depression making them vulnerable to opioid abuse. Bright Minds Bioscience is working on serotonin agonists to find better treatment for syndromes like diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, tension-type headache, somatoform pain, cluster headache without the side-effects highly addictive opioids.
Studies suggest that serotonin, a monoamine found in the central nervous system and the periphery, is one of the several neurotransmitters responsible transmission and regulation of painful sensations. Scientists at Bright Minds Bioscience are working on the neuropsychiatric and analgesic effects of serotonin agonists so that pain could be treated effectively without the harmful effect of psychedelic drugs.
Pain: Normal or Chronic
You feel pain when nociceptors detect tissue damage and transmit signals to the brain. The signal strength determines the intensity of the pain and triggers a defensive response to control the damage. When sensation is localized, intense, and persists for a short duration, it falls in the normal category, which could be somatic, visceral, or referred. When pain persists longer, normally for more than 3-6 months, it is called chronic pain. Consistent pain, with abnormal flare-ups, affects the patient’s physical and mental health. Here are some of the symptoms of chronic pain syndrome to help you identify early so that you could consult your doctor and start the medication to manage pain effectively:
• Chronic pain affects joints, so you might feel progressively intensifying pain in joints
• You might experience muscular aches
• You will experience fatigue and restlessness
• Consistent pain will affect your sleep pattern
• Decrease in physical activity resulting in loss of flexibility and stamina
• In some cases, patients report increased anxiety, depression, and mood problems
Treatment for Chronic Pain Syndrome
The treatment of chronic pain syndrome depends on causing conditions, which could be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, or surgical trauma. In some cases, pain persists even after conditions improve, which could be due to malfunctioning of the nervous system. Thanks to the advancements made in diagnostic technologies and pharmacology, chronic pain could be managed with quality medications and therapies.
Medical: Doctors recommend anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxing, and anti-depression drugs to relieve pain. Depending on the case and underlying conditions, the combination of drugs could vary from person to person. So, you should consult your doctor before you start the medication to control pain as the wrong drugs could make the situation worse. Opioids help in managing pain, but it is highly addictive with severe side effects.
Therapies: Depending on the affected body part, doctors recommend certain physical therapies to boost metabolic activity and muscular flexibility. In some cases, acupuncture, hypnosis, and yoga help in managing pain.
Neurological: In some cases of chronic pain neurologists recommend nerve blocking to interrupt pain signals communication between nerve cells and the brain.
Psychological Therapy: The perception of pain varies, so psychological intervention could be helpful in some cases. It helps, especially when the patient is struggling with anxiety, depression, and related mood changes.
Serotonin Agonists: Serotonin, synthesized from the dietary amino acid tryptophan and stored in presynaptic vesicles in neurons, is known to play important role in pain inhibition. Scientists at Bright Minds Bioscience are working on the 5-HT receptor—an important neuromodulator- to find effective and non-addictive medication so that chronic pain patients could control pain without side effects and live a painless life.