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Tinnitus and Chronic Pain: What's The Connection?

As medical research advances, there are many new and interesting findings all the time.  Some of them are revolutionary, result in new and better treatments of health issues. Still others do not help us to find cure or treatment, but instead help us to find connections or to better understand disease process.

One most interesting finding of late is that there appears to be a connection between tinnitus (constant ringing of the ears) and chronic pain.  Jose Rauschecker, lead author of a study at Georgetown University reports that these two phenomenon may coexist because of changes that occur in two areas of the brain. According to study findings, two areas in the frontal area of the brain serve as "gatekeepers" of sensory stimuli.  These regions of the brain appear to have less grey matter in persons with chronic pain and/or tinnitus as compared to normal test subjects.

This Georgetown study proposes that these areas of the brain tend to filter out signals that are not perceived as dangerous...but when these particular brain changes take place, the pain signal or ringing of the ears is NOT filtered out and the affected individual suffers for it.

There is certainly a need for further study on this topic; perhaps those who suffer from chronic pain in the future will benefit from treatment techniques that stem from this research.  In the meantime, those who suffer from chronic pain or tinnitus are advised to seek help from specialists in their respective fields.

Sources: ScienceTimes; Pixabay


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