Neuroplasticity and pain: what does it all mean?

Philip J Siddall
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (4): 177-178. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10100

Recent findings have implications for how we conceptualise, assess and treat pain

The concept of neuroplasticity — the ability of the nervous system to change its structure and function — has captured the imagination of clinicians, researchers and the general public.1 The ability of the brain to reorganise itself is remarkable. For example, people who are visually impaired engage their visual cortex for fine sensory discrimination when using their hands. In these situations, neuroplasticity appears to be a positive adaptation to loss of function.

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  • Philip J Siddall1,2

  • 1 Greenwich Hospital, HammondCare, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


I currently receive funding from National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists grants.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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