An occasional headache is a nuisance, but severe, unrelenting pain can blight one's existence. Scientists have now learned that chronic pain, which often leads to anxiety and depression, can also effect neurological changes. It can shrink the brain and impair one of the most valuable mental functions: the ability to make good decisions.
Pain is a defense system that indicates when something is wrong, comments Marshall Devor, a pioneer in pain research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "When there is a persistent tissue disorder or there has been injury to the nerves, it's like an alarm that is broken. Pain becomes a disease in its own right," Devor points out.
This article was originally published with the title Aching Atrophy.