Suffering from pain is optional: Pain catastrophizing and your brain

Experts agree that the experience of pain is influenced by a large number of biological, social, and psychological factors.  The state of our physical body, the amount and quality of support we get from our family and friends, and our beliefs about pain all work together to influence the intensity and quality of all of our sensations, including … [Read more...]

Surgical or non-surgical management for sciatica – what you need to know

Whilst low back pain (LBP) is the number one cause of disability worldwide, a small number of patients will suffer associated leg pain, generally due to a herniated intervertebral lumbar disc - commonly known as ’sciatica’. Responsible for less than five percent of all low-back presentations, lower limb pins and needles, tingling, numbness or … [Read more...]

#itdoesnthavetohurt: Using social media to get research evidence about children’s pain to parents

All children have pain and parents are generally unaware of how they can help. Despite decades of research aimed at better understanding and improving pain assessment and management in children [i], many children still do not receive the pain care they deserve.  Poorly managed pain in children is a serious and ongoing health problem, resulting in … [Read more...]

The Pain Illusion

First published in The Enterprise Magazine, UniSA One in five Australian adults suffers from chronic pain. But what exactly is happening in our brain when we experience pain? We talk to UniSA’s Body in Mind research group to find out. People are usually speaking in derogatory terms when they suggest your aches and pains are “all in your mind”, … [Read more...]

Investigating the path from expectancies to outcome

A considerable number of studies in many areas of medicine have suggested there is a link between patients’ expectancies for recovery and health outcomes[1,5,6]. A patient that expects that the treatment will help them recover, is more likely to recover than a patient with lower expectations. These relationships are found in both (chronic) pain and … [Read more...]

GP management of back pain – challenges and opportunities

Low back pain is a very common reason to visit the doctor but previous studies have indicated that GP management of back pain is often inconsistent with evidence-based guidelines. We wanted to explore the beliefs of New Zealand GPs about back pain and how these influenced their management of patients with back pain. We found that GPs who … [Read more...]

Race, bias, and ambiguity – Toward a better understanding of pain treatment disparities

Poor pain care is an unfortunate reality for many patients, especially those belonging to racial minorities. Many factors have been proposed to explain pain-related racial disparities, but precious few studies have actually tested these hypotheses. My research group recently published a paper that aimed to better understand how provider racial bias … [Read more...]

A Virtual Balloon-Popping Task for Kids with CRPS

Virtual reality (VR) has been used to treat pain for over twenty years. Initial attempts took advantage of the immersive, interactive qualities of VR to distract patients who were undergoing painful procedures; for example, by sending burn patients through a snowy virtual world with animated snowmen while their wounds were being cleaned [1].  Later … [Read more...]

Does mindfulness improve outcomes in chronic pain patients?

Chronic pain is a common condition[1], often involving frequent use of health care services[2]. The chronic pain experience, involving a combination of biological, psychological and social factors, can be amplified by emotions and thoughts about the pain.[3] Mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular as a self-management technique … [Read more...]

Morphine and mindfulness – same room different windows?

The second lecture evening of our Art of Pain Exhibition, undertaken as part of the Australian National Pain Week, saw Professor Mark Hutchinson from Adelaide Uni, Dr Tim Semple from the RAH Pain Service, Georgie Davidson from Mindful Movement Physiotherapy and artist George Khut take on this rather cryptic and perhaps not altogether helpful topic. … [Read more...]