About this Research Topic
Of all the chronic diseases, chronic pain is often overlooked. Such an oversight is surprising given the annual cost of pain to society is greater than that of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Defined as pain that lasts longer than three months, chronic pain is one of the leading causes of years lived with disability in the world today. The treatment needs of pain sufferers continue to be unmet. There are still fundamental questions about pain, and we need answers.
While nociceptive input arrives at the brain from the periphery, pain itself is an experience produced by the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord. Certainly, as pain becomes chronic, the relationship between pain and any injury that may have occurred becomes more tenuous. The complexity of pain has led to ongoing investigation using various forms of neuroimaging, to be explored in this issue.
While many advances have been made in our understanding of pain, there is still conjecture in the brain imaging literature. A lot of criticism is aimed at neuroimaging studies in chronic pain, for various issues e.g. sample size, type 1 error, analysis techniques. While some of this may be justified, there is always a place for well-designed studies that address clearly articulated hypotheses.
We aim for this Topic to include investigations into alternative methods and analyses in an effort to improve our understanding of pain. We also welcome studies discussing social, medicolegal, and ethical issues in pain and neuroimaging.
• Structural neuroimaging studies in pain
• Functional neuroimaging studies in pain – both at rest and task-based
• Neurochemistry studies in pain
• All pain conditions including visceral and pelvic pain
• Combined imaging modalities in pain
• Chronic pain populations
• Experimental pain studies
• Brain stimulation studies in pain
• Machine learning/analysis/methods studies in pain
• Neuroimaging studies of pain mechanisms
• Neuroimaging studies of pain treatments/therapies
• Spinal cord neuroimaging studies in pain
• Ethical, social, legal issues associated with brain imaging in pain
• Controversies associated with brain imaging in pain; future directions and possibilities
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.