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...]

Macrophages are key players in pain and analgesia

Macrophages are found in all tissues and are critical to injury and repair. Like neurons, macrophages are plastic and acquire different phenotypes based on the external environment. There are two types of macrophages, M1 which secrete inflammatory cytokines, and M2 which secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines. Inflammatory cytokines activate … [Read more...]

Oldies but Goodies – Isometrics reduce tendon pain

Over this holiday season we are posting the most popular articles from the last five years.  The fourth most read in our archive is on isometric tendon pain by Ebonie Rio. Isometrics reduce tendon pain Anyone with tendon pain will tell you, it’s a pain in the butt (hamstring tendon pain that is). If it’s your Achilles tendon, the mornings are a … [Read more...]

Oldies but Goodies – Everything you wanted to know about CENTRAL SENSITISATION

Over this holiday season we are posting the most read articles from the last five years.  The third is a BiM review of a J Pain paper by Alban Latremoliere and Clifford J. Woolf (AKA L&W) Everything you wanted to know about CENTRAL SENSITISATION By Kerwin Talbot & Lorimer Moseley Another of our series on the Journal of Pain’s most … [Read more...]

Oldies but Goodies – The trigger point strikes … out!

Over this holiday season we are posting the most read articles from the last five years.  Here is the second. The trigger point strikes … out! John Quintner and colleagues recently published a controversial review in Rheumatology. We asked him to present their position in blog form. I expect it to stir some intriguing emotions in many of you and … [Read more...]

Oldies but Goodies – What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – in plain English

Over this holiday season we are posting the most read articles from the last five years.  Here is the first. What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – in plain English What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? Well, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is exactly that Complex: Many, many different problems have been identified in people with … [Read more...]

Vitamin C and Back Pain, Really?

Pain is not a big killer like cancer or infectious diseases. However, back pain tops the scales of disease burden: when comorbidity is considered with disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)*– then back pain wins in almost every country (see http://www.healthdata.org/gbd). Other musculoskeletal problems, including arthritis, also count among the … [Read more...]

The dynamic effect of pain on attention

Pain tends to grab our attention, making it difficult to concentrate on other tasks. This is generally a useful feature of pain – if we burn ourselves while cooking, it’s good that our attention switches away from the food and towards the pain so that we can adequately protect ourselves. However, if the pain doesn’t signal threat (e.g. a tension … [Read more...]