Pain Gets Largest Share of Attention
Do you know why it’s impossible to concentrate with a splitting headache, an aching back or the throb of carpal tunnel? There is a region of the brain responsible for processing both working memory and pain, and when you’re in pain, guess what gets priority. According to functional magnetic resonance imaging performed by Ulrike Bingel and other researchers at Germany’s Univeristy Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, applying pain to volunteer’s hands increased activity in areas involved in pain processing and decreased activity in the areas working on performing the assigned task. This study reflects the growing understanding that preventing worker injuries and accomodating worker’s needs for injury recovery pay off in multiple ways for employers. And for doctors weighing the cognitive side effects of prescribing strong painkillers such as opiates, it’s a reminder that the pain may be even more debilitating.