Insights for Clinicians From Brain Imaging Studies of Pain

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In Kumbhare et al,1 a selective review of brain imaging studies is presented that focuses on chronic pain. The stated aim of the review is to provide clinicians with information deemed important to the utility of functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to understand the brain abnormalities across the spectrum of chronic pain conditions. Towards this goal, the review provides an overview of MRI approaches and data from studies that have used these methods to study chronic pain. The authors then discuss the clinically important topic of how these methods have been used to study brain predictors of chronic pain chronification and treatment response. Overall, the review provides a good sense of what has been done in the field to demonstrate that brain abnormalities exist across a spectrum of chronic pain conditions, and notes some of the developments that are needed in the future to make neuroimaging have direct impact on patient care.
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