People consistently rate pain of the head, face, eyeballs, ears and teeth as more disruptive, and more emotionally draining, than pain elsewhere in the body.
Duke University scientists have discovered how the brain’s wiring makes us suffer more from head and face pain.
The team found that sensory neurons that serve the head and face are wired directly into one of the brain’s principal emotional signaling hubs.
Sensory neurons elsewhere in the body are also connected to this hub, but only indirectly.
The results may pave the way toward more effective treatments for chronic headaches and neuropathic face pain.
Usually doctors focus on treating the sensation of pain, but this research shows that they really need to treat the emotional aspects of pain as well.