In 2014, the World Federation of Neurology established “World Brain Day”. The main objective of this day of the brain is to increase public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Move together to end Parkinson’s disease”. It can impact movement and almost all aspects of brain function, and people with Parkinson’s disease may be particularly impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The brain also plays a vital role in the emergence of the pain experience. In fact, only the brain decides whether to create pain. The purpose of pain is to protect us. There are factors from every aspect of our lives, beyond tissue damage or injury, that may feed this need for protection. These include our beliefs about what it is that’s causing our pain, feelings or thoughts about pain generally, being fearful due to pain, thinking our pain will get worse and we won’t recover, the information we have been given about our pain, our previous experiences of pain or others’ pain, our overall health including our mood, anxiety and stress levels, sleep and tiredness, the way our nervous systems and immune systems work, and even our genes. Our brain considers all this information when deciding when to produce pain. Overall, pain is best considered a biopsychosocial experience involving a dynamic interplay between biological, psychological, and social factors.
Pain is one of the most frequent symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and often adversely affects patients’ quality of life. Approximately 30–50% of patients with Parkinson disease experience pain. There is no consensus regarding the mechanisms and classification of pain in Parkinson disease but it is thought that a significant proportion of pain has musculoskeletal origins. There is conflicting evidence for the role of pharmacological treatments in the management of pain in Parkinson disease, and more high-quality studies are required before recommendations can be made. However, there is moderate evidence that exercise programs including flexibility, relaxation, walking, Nordic walking, dance, and music therapies can help reduce pain and disability and improve quality of life in individuals with Parkinson disease.
For more information on World Brain Day and the onset, treatment, and prevalence of Parkinson’s Disease visit https://wfneurology.org/world-brain-day-2020