BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A new, non-drug treatment is helping patients “unlearn” chronic back pain. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are testing pain re-processing therapy.

The psychological approach to pain management is helping many people get aspects of their lives back. In a study of 150 people, 66% of them were pain free or nearly pain-free after one month compared to 20% in the placebo group.

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Most maintained relief for a year.

“Changes in the brain cause the pain to persist. Basically, the brain learns the pain, and what we try to do in this study was teach people how to unlearn the pain,” said Dr. Yoni Ashar, clinical psychologist and neuroscientist.

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Yoni says pain is always real, but if the problem starts in the brain, it can be resolved there as well.