After an occurrence of a traumatic event, are defective medical condition develops, known as post-traumatic stress disorder. People suffering from this disorder may experience chronic pain, disturbing memories, anxiety, and negative thoughts. The treatment of this condition usually involves psychotherapy, along with taking anti-anxiety medicines and anti-depressant pills.
The main objective of the research is to understand the link between mental health and pain. Imanuel Lerman—an associate professor in San Diego School of Medicine at University of California a pain management specialist at San Diego Health and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in the same university—has a keenness to know about the role of the vagus nerve in influencing the emotional pain experience. Vagus nerve basically begins from the brainstem, passing through both sides of the neck, and reaches the abdomen.
Other than managing the emotional pain, the nerve also helps in sustaining the breathing rate, heart rate, digestive system movements, and other basic body’s internal activities.
In a study conducted by Lerman and the team, non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation as examined as a way of reducing the pain sensation.
To analyze the brain activity of participants suffered from artificially generated strong heat stimulus, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the response was also identified by measuring the amount of sweat released from the skin of participants before the application of artificial heat.
Around 50% of the participants were given non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation treatment for two minutes—by placing electrodes on the neck— roughly 10 Minutes earlier the heat stimulus, while the remaining 50% of participants were given a mock stimulation.
The brains of the participants, who received non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation, responded to heat stimulus 10 Seconds later than the patients given mock stimulation.
Participants received pre-treatment with vagus nerve stimulation showed decreasing sweat response over time, as compared to the sham-treatment group.