"When you have chronic pain, you develop anxiety. Because you have anxiety, you suffer more chronic pain," says Professor Min Zhuo
Researchers have known for a decade what patients have suspected much longer: chronic pain produces anxiety, and anxiety makes the pain worse. But why? Scientists have found tantalizing clues, including intense activity in the same part of the brain during both sensations. But an answer has been elusive.
Now, neuroscientists at the University of Toronto have mapped a mechanism in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, that could explain the link between anxiety and chronic pain.