Education  |   June 2018
Neuroimaging of Pain: Human Evidence and Clinical Relevance of Central Nervous System Processes and Modulation
Author Notes
  • From the Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California.
  • This article is featured in “This Month in Anesthesiology,” page 1A.
    This article is featured in “This Month in Anesthesiology,” page 1A.×
  • Submitted for publication August 7, 2017. Accepted for publication January 23, 2018.
    Submitted for publication August 7, 2017. Accepted for publication January 23, 2018.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Martucci: Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero Road, Suite 200, Palo Alto, California 94304. kmartucc@stanford.edu. Information on purchasing reprints may be found at www.anesthesiology.org or on the masthead page at the beginning of this issue. Anesthesiology’s articles are made freely accessible to all readers, for personal use only, 6 months from the cover date of the issue.
Article Information
Education / Review Article / Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Pain Medicine / Radiological and Other Imaging
Education   |   June 2018
Neuroimaging of Pain: Human Evidence and Clinical Relevance of Central Nervous System Processes and Modulation
Anesthesiology 6 2018, Vol.128, 1241-1254. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002137
Anesthesiology 6 2018, Vol.128, 1241-1254. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002137
Abstract

Neuroimaging research has demonstrated definitive involvement of the central nervous system in the development, maintenance, and experience of chronic pain. Structural and functional neuroimaging has helped elucidate central nervous system contributors to chronic pain in humans. Neuroimaging of pain has provided a tool for increasing our understanding of how pharmacologic and psychologic therapies improve chronic pain. To date, findings from neuroimaging pain research have benefitted clinical practice by providing clinicians with an educational framework to discuss the biopsychosocial nature of pain with patients. Future advances in neuroimaging-based therapeutics (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation, real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback) may provide additional benefits for clinical practice. In the future, with standardization and validation, brain imaging could provide objective biomarkers of chronic pain, and guide treatment for personalized pain management. Similarly, brain-based biomarkers may provide an additional predictor of perioperative prognoses.