This story appears in the January 2020 issue of National Geographic magazine.
This content is Subscriber-Exclusive
You must have a National Geographic subscription to explore this article.
With the opioid crisis, the quest to understand the biology of pain and explore new ways to treat it has taken on fresh urgency.
Vitaly Napadow, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, studies how the brain perceives pain. To do that, he uses electroencephalography to track the brain wave patterns of patients with chronic lower back pain.