The thought of spiders may make your skin crawl, but a new study suggests that maybe we should put our hatred of the eight-legged beasts to one side; their venom could lead to a more effective treatment for the 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain.

Chronic pain – defined as pain that lasts longer than 3-6 months – is the most common cause of long-term disability in the US. It occurs when nerves in a part of the body send continuous signals to the brain via pain pathways.

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