Pain Reprocessing Therapy
Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) can stop chronic pain in many people without medication.
Boulder (U.S.A.). Back pain is one of the most common diagnoses in which opioids are prescribed as pain relievers rather than light medication. These are potentially addictive substances that have already triggered the so-called opioid crisis in the USA. Medicine is therefore looking for alternative treatment methods for chronic pain that can replace opioids.
Scientists from the University of Colorado have, according to a publication in the journal JAMA Psychiatry A clinical study has now shown that non-drug forms of therapy can also work for chronic pain. For this purpose, the test subjects completed the Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT). It is a brain training that teaches the patient to perceive pain signals as less threatening.
Back pain for no physiological reason
151 subjects took part in the study, in whom no physiologically verifiable cause such as joint inflammation or vertebral damage was found for the back pain. As part of the study, these were divided into three groups for four weeks. One group received intensive PRT treatment, the second group received a placebo medication made from saline, and the third group stayed on their previous medication.
Magnetic resonance imaging examines pain reprocessing therapy
The scientists then examined the effects of PRT using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans. They could see that the activity in areas of the brain that deal with pain processing has changed. After four weeks, two thirds of the test subjects stated that they were completely or almost pain-free. In the placebo control group it was only 20 percent, in the third group only ten percent. The positive effect of the PRT was also confirmed after a year in follow-up discussions in which a large part of the PRT group stated that they were still largely pain-free.
JAMA Psychiatry, doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2669