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...]

The effectiveness of drugs for neuropathic pain – what do we know?

Neuropathic pain (NP) - that is pain arising from identifiable damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system is common and frequently severe and life-changing. It is also notoriously difficult to treat effectively. Indeed we know that for many people with NP treatment is inadequate. The International Association for the Study of Pain … [Read more...]

Rethinking the role of the brain in driving phantom pain

Although pain is inherently linked to one’s own body, for people suffering from limb amputation, pain can be experienced as arising from outside the body – from their missing limb. This phenomenon, termed phantom limb pain, is estimated to occur in 4 out of 5 upper limb amputees, and therefore poses a significant medical problem. Phantom pain can … [Read more...]

Treating more than just the back in chronic low back pain

'Physiotherapists may stigmatise or feel unprepared to treat people with low back pain and psychosocial factors that influence recovery: a systematic review' (Synnott et al, 2015) There is considerable evidence that when people have chronic low back pain (LBP), several factors can be involved in delaying their recovery and/or their ability to … [Read more...]