Chronic pain and loss of motivation are chemically intertwined

Chronic pain is associated with a reduction in reward seeking, but not just because people are hurting and do not feel up to the task. New Stanford brain research is providing a more comprehensive picture of how molecular changes in the brain dictate loss of motivation in painful settings.

In addition to these biochemical changes, researchers were able to demonstrate a lag in motivation in groups of mice with chronic pain, even if they were just as physicially able as those with no pain. It appears to be an adaptation in cases of acute pain to help people heal, but in cases of chronic pain, "it is a maladaptation," said Stanford scientist Neil Schwartz, PhD, in this report from San Francisco Chronicle.