Paracetamol for acute low back pain – a cheap fix or a waste of health resources?

Many of us have the humble paracetamol pill in the cupboard at home, and reach for it when we experience pain. But recent research shows that paracetamol does not provide more pain relief than a placebo pill in low back pain and osteoarthritis [1]. A more detailed way of explaining this is that paracetamol does not provide extra pain relief for … [Read more...]

Changing pain thresholds with classical conditioning

Our previous post about a classical conditioning model for pain generated some lively discussion.  Some argued vehemently that pain cannot be a classically conditioned response, and others argued vehemently that of course it can and we have known this for decades.  We haven’t yet pinned our colours to any particular mast – we’d like to see the … [Read more...]

Chronic pain can be lessened by an ‘out of body’ illusion

If you’ve ever heard of stories in which people report having an ‘out of body experience’ (OBE) during a traumatic incident like a car crash you might be able to guess why there could be a link between OBEs and chronic pain. Some scientists have suggested that the very vivid hallucination that is an OBE can sometimes serve an adaptive function by … [Read more...]

Persistent low back pain: Can screening predict risk?

Almost everyone will experience low back pain (LBP).  Most of us also know someone who has persistent LBP – pain that comes and goes, or never goes; that limits work, or life or enjoyment.  When our own back hurts we worry (a little or a lot) that we might end up like them. The majority of adults who suffer a new episode of LBP recover within a … [Read more...]

We need YOUR friends and family….

We are interested in how the information we receive about our back affects our decision to be active or not. We are doing an experiment on it. We need 400 people to take part but we need them to NOT be readers of Body in Mind!! So, could you please ask your friends, family, neighbours, relations, colleagues to help us out?  We would be very … [Read more...]

Can Quantitative Sensory Testing responses predict the course of low back pain?

We know low back pain (LBP) is a condition with a variable prognosis. A good proportion of people recover quite quickly from an episode of LBP, but some will have fluctuating symptoms or develop chronic LBP [2]. Currently, there is no consensus as to which factors are more important to predict this trajectory [3]. Psychosocial (e.g. distress) and … [Read more...]

Spreading Pain Education in Brazil

Development of the first internet-delivery pain education intervention in Brazil It is well established that pain, especially chronic pain, is a public health problem worldwide. Chronification of pain may be due to mismanagement of acute pain that can result in modifications in the peripheral and central nervous systems. Likewise, insufficient … [Read more...]

Making a definition of pain work for us

With our new proposal, we are not, emphatically NOT, suggesting that we have arrived at the ideal definition of pain. A definition needs to work for clinical and experimental pain, for humans and for other animals, for excruciating and for trivial pain. It needs to distinguish pain from all other sources of distress, from specific anxieties to … [Read more...]

Is alcohol effective as a painkiller?

How many people have sustained an injury (accidental or other) after a few too many drinks, to find that the pain only really kicks in after they have sobered up? Pain experienced the morning after our drunken exploits may lend weight to the established belief that alcohol provides an effective form of pain relief. Historically, alcohol was a … [Read more...]

Alcohol and pain in the population

There is a problem in observational epidemiology. If a disease has an association with a behaviour within the population, we cannot tell which of these is true: the behaviour causes the disease; the disease causes the behaviour; or a third factor causes both. The first instinct for the reader of an epidemiological study is often to infer that … [Read more...]