When I feel your pain

Sophie Vandenbroucke

Imagine you are preparing food with your partner. Suddenly, you observe your better half accidently cutting his or her hand with a kitchen knife. You may feel uncomfortable and distressed. In fact, you might even respond as though your hand has been cut – by experiencing the pain that would be associated with that event. This phenomenon, referred … [Read more...]

The role of significant others in the management of persistent musculoskeletal pain

Serena McCluskey

It has long been acknowledged that persistent musculoskeletal pain can be influenced by environmental factors, with an important source being the interaction between the pain sufferer and their ‘significant other’ (spouse/partner/relative). It is proposed that significant others can reinforce an individual’s unhelpful pain cognitions, such as fear … [Read more...]

World congress comes to you 7: Yes we can (control chronic pain)

In reviewing the notes I took during the workshop “Beyond the ordinary: Innovative psychological and educational approaches to chronic pain treatment” (15th World Congress on Pain, Buenos Aires), one important message stands out: pain is an experience produced by our brain and, for this reason, we can control it. How? During this workshop three … [Read more...]

Classification of low back pain. Are we winning?

Martin Rabey

As clinicians we know that no two people with low back pain (LBP) are identical. However, if we looked at a large number of people with LBP, would we be able to see some patterns emerge? Or similarities that could allow us to group these people together based upon some characteristics of their presentations? The idea of classification systems for … [Read more...]

Does charity start at homeopathy?

Lorimer Moseley

Well it was a bit predictable I guess, but the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council, a highly respected and independent body from almost anyone’s viewpoint, has released the findings of its mammoth investigation into the evidence supporting homeopathy. And the evidence is not good - there was no reliable evidence (i.e. from … [Read more...]

Talking your pain away…

Annett Schirmer

Like other important sensations, pain elicits automatic nonverbal expressions. The functional significance of these expressions has been recognised by Charles Darwin (Darwin, 1872), who dedicated an entire book to them. In this book, he acknowledged that nonverbal expressions serve as signals for interaction partners. However, he also argued that … [Read more...]

Sensory conflicts may increase limb pain in CRPS by activating mechanisms of general facilitation of nociception

Lone Knudsen

I continue to be fascinated by the perplexing symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is characterised by the changeable nature of symptoms throughout the day and during the course of the disease, and patients with CRPS often perceive the affected limb as larger than its actual size (Moseley, 2005; Peltz et al., 2011). Patients with … [Read more...]

Pain: It’s not just personal

Kai Karos

Pain can be paradoxical: On the one hand we know that pain is by definition a fundamentally subjective and individual experience. As psychologists we have fought long and hard to change the public and scientific understanding of pain as a purely medical phenomenon towards a biopsychosocial construct. On the other hand we know that pain is not … [Read more...]

What’s the deal with all these screening studies?

Emma Karran

The cost of chronic back pain and the limited resources that we have to deal with it, has led to many studies that attempt to ‘screen’ patients with low back pain in order to target treatment at the patients who need it most. I have had a clinical interest in this idea for some years and have spent the last 12 months with my head buried in the … [Read more...]

Flexibly Parenting Teens with Pain

Wallace, Dustin - UMKC portrait

Although a teenager with chronic pain might never admit it, research has shown that parents influence their pain and functioning even beyond annoying them (and thus “causing” pain). In fact, research shows that many things parents do, or even think, can impact their child’s pain. Unfortunately, most things are not always good or always bad! Pain … [Read more...]