Acupuncture and a cracking review paper

Going over the archives, Neil wrote this after finding a  review paper written by Professor Donald Marcus "Is Acupuncture for Pain a Placebo Treatment? An examination of the evidence".  First published in The Rheumatologist, it is open access - which means you can read the full paper for free. Acupuncture, some dodgy maths and a cracking review … [Read more...]

The Language of Pain

It has long been one of my Sunday morning routines to read the Sunday New York times. In the July 12 edition of the “The Times” Joanna Burke offers an interesting commentary that caught my attention, “How To Talk About Pain”. There are several, as David Butler would say, “ nuggets” contained in here that provide insight into value and … [Read more...]

Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition? PART TWO

In our last blog (Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition?) we talked about the role of the thalamus in the development and maintenance of orofacial neuropathic pain. We reported that painful trigeminal neuropathic pain (PTN) is associated with altered thalamic anatomy, function and biochemistry, which may disturb central processing and play a key role in … [Read more...]

Enjoy a surf?

Swan neck

Margaret River in Western Australia has some of the best surfing in the world…great food and wine too…but that’s not all. There’s a bit of digital technology wave-riding happening over west too, with 2 new initiatives recently launched and freely available not matter where you live. painHEALTH:  aimed at helping people with persistent … [Read more...]

Can diagnostic uncertainty bias patients’ memory?

Danijela Serbic

Our thoughts shape our emotional and behavioural responses. This is a well-established principle in psychological research and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We use preconceptions – known as “schemas” - to help us filter new and ambiguous information. These schemas are helpful in many ways, but they do not always serve us well: they will often … [Read more...]

Did you expect anything different?

Asking your patient what they expect is the thing to do these days, the idea being that what they expect is likely to influence how they will end up. The past years have seen an explosion of research into patient expectations, most of this research either looks at the link between patients’ expectations and their outcome, or has been performed in … [Read more...]

But they walked, hopped and jumped on it!

From the days of my infancy as a physiotherapist, I was raised on the teaching that pain should be measured by subjective means only. You have to ask the patient. You cannot presume to judge the magnitude of their experience: you ask them, and they tell you. If they say it’s a 2 out of 10, that’s what it is. If they say it’s an 11 out of 10 (I see … [Read more...]

Weather Does Not Affect Back Pain

Everyone has a story about their back pain and one story you often hear is that the weather makes the person’s back pain worse. Topical now in Sydney as it is quite cold. We had an open mind on the issue because we had heard the story so many times but we also know that as a research question it was wide open as no-one had rigorously evaluated this … [Read more...]

A Sore Spot: Central or peripheral generation of chronic neuropathic pain?

Raja lab

A key question, of significant therapeutic consequence, regarding the neural mechanisms of chronic neuropathic pain is whether it is maintained by input from the periphery or by independent, central (spinal or supraspinal) generators.  In a recent issue of PAIN, two research groups reported their observations that suggest that input from primary … [Read more...]

Dry needling for myofascial pain. Does the evidence make the grade?

Last year, JOSPT published a systematic review and meta-analysis of dry needling for upper quarter myofascial pain. We thought it was a really well conducted systematic review, but we were somewhat surprised by the abstract, the interpretation of results and the accompanying advice to patients. So we wrote a letter to the journal. They did not … [Read more...]