GP management of back pain – challenges and opportunities

Low back pain is a very common reason to visit the doctor but previous studies have indicated that GP management of back pain is often inconsistent with evidence-based guidelines. We wanted to explore the beliefs of New Zealand GPs about back pain and how these influenced their management of patients with back pain. We found that GPs who … [Read more...]

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

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

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?

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...]

Morphine and mindfulness – same room different windows?

The second lecture evening of our Art of Pain Exhibition, undertaken as part of the Australian National Pain Week, saw Professor Mark Hutchinson from Adelaide Uni, Dr Tim Semple from the RAH Pain Service, Georgie Davidson from Mindful Movement Physiotherapy and artist George Khut take on this rather cryptic and perhaps not altogether helpful topic. … [Read more...]

Art of Pain Exhibition is a hit; ‘Whiplash – to treat or reassure?’

As part of National Pain Week, University of South Australia’s Hawke Centre, PainAdelaide Stakeholders’ Consortium and The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT), joined forces to put on the inaugural Art of Pain Exhibition and seminar series. A thousand members of the general public attended and the feedback was top shelf indeed. Our … [Read more...]

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

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

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

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...]

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

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...]