This Friday is my first session in an experimental research study involving brain imaging for the treatment of chronic pain. In a study funded by the NIH, researchers are developing the use of real-time imaging of the functions of the human brain (rtfMRI) to train patients to change activations in brain regions that control the experience of pain. It's biofeedback's 21st-Century cousin.
The potential benefit is that by learning to better control the areas of the brain related to pain processing, I will have a reduced overall experience of pain and a better quality of life -- without drugs.
There's no guarantee I won't be in the control group, though, so my personal benefit may be nil. But even so, I'll be contributing to the research, which is a wonderful feeling in and of itself. And from what I understand, participants will be using virtual reality goggles during the scans -- how cool is that! That experience alone will be worth the overall hassle.
The study involves 12 appointments, 6 of which involve undergoing MRI scanning, spread out over several months. And for me, it all begins on Friday.
I posted about a previous treatment study I was in here.