Chronic Pain May Interfere with Memory

One more problem with chronic pain: it may impede the brain’s ability to form and store memories, according to recent research.

In the study, 24 adults with chronic pain took simple memory tests at two different times: one test after having a procedure to relieve their pain (e.g. an epidural injection for chronic low back pain), and another on a day when they hadn't received any pain relieving procedure.

The findings: Two-thirds of the patients had more difficulty with memory on the days when they hadn't had a recent pain-relieving procedure.

According to the researchers, the study indicates that chronic pain may disrupt the brain’s ability to hold and store memories.

Frequent comments on our message board about difficulty with remembering things anecdotally – and often humorously - support these findings.

Source: Dick, B. Anesthesia & Analgesia, May 2007; vol 4: pp 1223-1229. News release, University of Alberta

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