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Brain in chronic pain: Why new learning is the key to relief

Decades of research have found that chronic pain is a heightened emotional learning state. In this one hour talk, Aivo co-founder Dr. Melissa Farmer explains how fear memories related to chronic pain physically transform the brain over months, years, and decades. By exploring the scientific basis of how pain memories (or engrams) are created and maintained, Dr. Farmer reveals how the continued daily experience of pain strengthens pain memories and how people who live with pain can reclaim their minds and bodies with new learning. 

In this video, Dr. Farmer describes the scientific rationale that led to the creation of Aivo. 

Based on decades of peer-reviewed work, Aivo co-founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Vania Apkarian discovered that chronic pain is a heightened emotional learning state. Dr. Apkarian’s work has challenged the traditional understanding of how pain works, which always viewed chronic pain as just a prolonged period of injury-related pain. Instead, his research shows that injury-related brain activity only lasts about 6 months before emotional brain activity starts to take over. This means that the most important target in treating chronic pain is the emotional brain. 

The brain has an incredible capacity to change. Aivo targets the memory pathways underlying chronic pain, which allows the brain to unlearn pain.

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