Tor Wagner from the University of Colorado at Boulder took the lead on a study to try and see how the brain processes brain.
By using an fMRI scan and painfully hot temperatures, the old ways of measuring pain have been proven insufficient. Usually, pain is recorded on a self-report basis on a 1-10 scale. There’s no way to know if pain is being exaggerated or underplayed by the patient.
The scans showed specific patterns that were similar across all the patients, showing that the brain processes pain the same way in all of us. They were able to predict pain between 90 and 100% accuracy, even when they had no other “normal” scans of the patients to compare it to.
They hoped that these scans could also help break ground with emotional or social pain, but they found that those are processed differently. They found this out by measure as participants were shown a picture of someone who had previously caused them emotional distress and as they experienced relationships breakups. However, this study still proves as a good foundation for future studies.
So how do we know that this path in the brain is related to pain and not something like temperature? Some participants took pain killers prior to the study, and their scans showed signatures for lower levels of pain.
To read more on the study, you can find the article here. If you want to prove to your husband that you really do have a headache, call us at 212-744-5538.