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What is the relationship between chronic pain conditions and cognitive impairment?

The relationship between chronic pain conditions and cognitive impairment is complex and bidirectional. A study published in "Pain Medicine" in 2018 sheds light on this connection. Chronic pain, such as that associated with conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic lower back pain, can lead to cognitive impairments like reduced attention, memory deficits, and slower information processing. This is often referred to as "pain-related cognitive dysfunction."

Conversely, cognitive impairments can influence the perception and management of pain, potentially leading to inadequate pain control and treatment outcomes. Chronic pain is associated with structural and functional brain changes, which may contribute to cognitive deficits. Understanding and addressing the interplay between chronic pain and cognitive function is crucial for improving the overall well-being of individuals living with these conditions.


1.Moriarty, O., & McGuire, B. E. (2018). Finn DP. The effect of pain on cognitive function: a review of clinical and preclinical research. Progress in Neurobiology, 168, 53-83.

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