Beyond Poppy Juice: The New Science of Pain
The struggle against pain is as old as human society. Indeed, some widely used methods of relieving pain are were originally herbal remedies—opiates come from the poppy flower and aspirin from willow bark—that have global effects on the nervous system. Our reliance on generalized painkillers may be about to change, argue Dubner and his colleagues. Targets of opportunity for precise, high-impact, and long-lasting relief of pain are being identified in the body’s sensory receptors, peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and the brain itself. A burgeoning population of older people whose chronic pain has thus far resisted treatment could benefit the most.