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The Journal of Neuroscience, November 22, 2006, reports a connection between specific brain regions and chronic back pain.

Pain is a way for an organism to enhance their chance for survival. They will either escape the source of pain or protect the injured body part. The question is what role does chronic pain have in a species survival.

When an individual lives with chronic, unrelenting pain over a period of years it tends to change one’s outlook on everyday experiences and future expectations to be more negative. The negative ‘feelings’ tend to reinforce the chronic pain sufferer’s negative expectations of the pain and makes treatment more difficult.

Layered over the chronic pain and emotional brain connection are the chemical changes in the brain known to occur. Key of which is the decreased gray matter density of the brain, which decreases the ability of chronic pain sufferers for emotional-decision processes. The area of the brain affected accounts for over 70-80% of the variance for the intensity and duration of chronic back pain.