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Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT)

Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) is a system of techniques that retrains the brain to interpret and respond to signals from the body properly, subsequently breaking the cycle of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, IBS.and other pain not due to structural damage.

There has been research which shows that learned neural pathways in the brain cause many forms of chronic pain and not structural problems in the body.

Chronic pain proven to have no physical or structural cause, is often referred to as “neuroplastic”. Neuroplasticity is an alarm generated by the brain to protect us from danger. Regarding chronic pain, this is essentially a false alarm.

When an injury occurs, the body sends a warning signal to the brain that there may be potential tissue damage. To protect the body from harm, the brain responds by sending out the pain signal. This alerts the body to avoid further damage as quickly as possible and to make corrective measures as needed.

The pain you feel is still very real, but the signal has been misinterpreted.

Over time, the body learns the associations of pain. The painful area becomes hypersensitive to triggers like physical activity, certain movements, temperatures, touch, and stress.

Pain reprocessing therapy is aimed toward changing the way the brain reacts when faced with a chronic pain trigger. Essentially, the brain will unlearn what it has associated with danger and break any identifiers surrounding it. Only then will physical activities be pain free again.

A randomized controlled trial at the University of Colorado Boulder validated Pain Reprocessing Therapy as the most effective current treatment for chronic pain. In the study, there were 150 chronic back pain patients. 50 patients received PRT twice a week for four weeks, 50 patients received treatment as usual, and 50 patients received an open-label placebo injection. In the PRT group, 98% of

patients improved and 66% of patients were pain-free or nearly pain-free at the end of treatment. These outcomes were largely maintained one year later. Read the study in JAMA Psychiatry here.

 Read the study in JAMA Network Open here.

Watch PRT on Today Show Here: 

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