In his new book Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, author David Linden explores the way the brain, the skin, and the nerves interact to create pleasure and pain. In this interview with NPR, Linden discusses the way anti-anxiety medication can affect chronic pain, in that the former can partially reduce the latter.
“So it turns out that the emotional pain centers are richly interconnected with regions of our brain having to do with cognition and anxiety and anticipation. So this is why many people who suffer from chronic pain can get partial relief from anti-anxiety medication. It’s not that the anti-anxiety medication directly affects pain-perception — what it does is it breaks this horrible positive feedback loop between anxiety and chronic pain.”
In many cases, Linden says, anxiety can trigger more chronic pain. So if you have less anxiety, he suggests, maybe you can have less pain as well.
What do you think? Have you ever been prescribed anti-anxiety medication for chronic pain? If so, how did it work for you?