Check in with us as we feature the latest trends, research and news in medicine, health and science. A team of Star Tribune staffers will aggregate updates from news wires, websites, magazines and medical journals.

Mental distractions can help relieve pain

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: May 18, 2012 - 10:46 AM

Mental distractions can act as a form of pain relief, according to a new study.

Study volunteers were asked to complete a difficult or easy memory task while a painful level of heat was applied to their arms. The participants perceived less pain when they were more distracted by the harder of the two memory tasks.

Using functional MRI, the German researchers also found that the lower levels of pain were associated with reduced activity in the spinal cord.

The study appears May 17 in the journal Current Biology.

The findings show that the reduced pain associated with distraction isn't just a mental process, but also a physical mechanism that reduces the amount of pain signals traveling from the spinal cord to the brain, said study author Christian Sprenger of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Read more from U.S. News.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT