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

Adam Hirsh

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

Andrea Stevenson Won

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?

Leila Bawa

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...]

Rethinking pain’s under-treatment in the ED – Part 2

Drew Carter

In the previous blog post, I described how I came to lead the writing of an article about pain being under-treated in the emergency department (ED) [3].  The article presents an argument for the plausibility of two new hypotheses for why pain is still under-treated in the ED, despite efforts to improve things.  We invite the reader to consider … [Read more...]

Rethinking pain’s under-treatment in the ED – Part 1

Drew Carter

When I came off my bicycle and my arm moved in ways it shouldn’t have, I was admitted to an emergency department (ED).  My arm hurt – a lot – and I wondered why efforts to reduce the pain weren’t entirely effective.  ‘We can land a man on the moon, but not stop a broken arm hurting?!’  It didn’t compute.  One of my thoughts was this: ‘Perhaps … [Read more...]

A big belly isn’t necessarily a pain in the back

Amabile Borges Dario

Over 80% of Australians experience back pain at some point in their lives, which is one of the most common reasons people miss work and seek health care. Despite the efforts of the scientific community to identify risks factors for back pain, the cause of this condition is still poorly understood. Knowing what causes low back pain might help us … [Read more...]

Central pain masquerading as peripheral: re-examining the mechanical presentation

Virtual Reality Experiment

When pain is predictably provoked by mechanical stress, and eased by its alleviation, we quickly implicate a mechanical, or at least peripheral, nociceptive mechanism, and apply diagnoses like mechanical low-back pain that justify our favoured peripherally directed interventions. While the logic is attractive, what if central processes could … [Read more...]

If only surgery wasn’t such a pain in the…. knee!!

Kristian_Petersen

Liz, a 65 year old retired nurse, was diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (OA) several years ago. Her GP subsequently prescribed a range of non-surgical and pharmaceutical interventions to treat her knee pain with limited success. Recently, she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate the need for a total knee replacement (TKR). While TKR … [Read more...]

Rethinking the role of the brain in driving phantom pain

Tamar Makin

Although pain is inherently linked to one’s own body, for people suffering from limb amputation, pain can be experienced as arising from outside the body – from their missing limb. This phenomenon, termed phantom limb pain, is estimated to occur in 4 out of 5 upper limb amputees, and therefore poses a significant medical problem. Phantom pain can … [Read more...]

Treating more than just the back in chronic low back pain

Aoife Synnott

'Physiotherapists may stigmatise or feel unprepared to treat people with low back pain and psychosocial factors that influence recovery: a systematic review' (Synnott et al, 2015) There is considerable evidence that when people have chronic low back pain (LBP), several factors can be involved in delaying their recovery and/or their ability to … [Read more...]