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A small British study has shown that laughter can increase your tolerance of pain. The study, called ” Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold”, confirmed that social laughter, laughter in the presence of others release endorphins, the same feel-good brain chemicals that are released during exercise.
Laughter is useful and helpful when you are hurting because it is work for the body. The release of endorphins through the body masks pain. It is a work out for the chest and lungs. The study was led by Robin Dunbar, PhD, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University.
The Scientific American recently posted an article entitled “How Chronic Pain Affects Memory and Mood”. Sufferers of chronic pain also experience faulty memory, depression and anxiety. According to new research from Northwestern University, the reasons for these symptoms could be that people who experience chronic pain suffer from an impaired hippocampus. The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotional processing.
Researchers at Northwestern University used anatomical brain scans to study the brains of people suffering from chronic back pain or complex regional pain syndrome and found that they had a smaller hippocampus than healthy people. The study turned to mice for more clues about how the hippocampus worked. Mice in chronic pain displayed greater anxiety like behaviours. The mice were unable to produce new neurons in the hippocampus, which is one of the few brain areas where adult mice and humans can grow new neurons.
The lead study researcher suspects that the hippocampal size difference seen in humans could be a reflection of the lack of neuron growth and other problems that were seen in the mice. Without the formation of new neurons, memory and emotional processes would also become impaired.
The study author believes that the study underlines the importance of treating chronic pain as a brain based disorder, in addition to targeting its perceived source in the body.
In technology news, an iPhone/iPad App called My Pain Diary has won awards and has found to be beneficial to those who suffer with chronic pain.
The app was originally released for iPhones, and is now avaialable for iPads, called My Pain Diary HD. It was created by a chronic pain sufferer. It helps patients and chronic pain sufferers track their pain and easily report it to caregivers and doctors. Features include an automatic weather tracker, the ability to attach photos, and the ability to track and compare multiple chronic conditions within one app.
Other features include the ability to create custom PDF doctor’s report to share with doctors, or to store in the app, private entries, which can be flagged as private so as not to be shared, a reminders feature, and a passcode option. There is also a Dropbox Backup option to back up data as well as iCloud syncing between devices.
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Disability & Personal Injury Blog