Body size of an embodied avatar modulates physiological response to pain

Nociceptive stimuli are processed through specific sensory pathways. Nonetheless, pain perception is highly subjective, and the amount of pain we feel depends on many things, including whether or not we are able to see the relevant body part. Indeed, looking at one’s own body reduces responses to pain, an effect known by the name “visual … [Read more...]

What’s best for chronic spinal back pain? Physical, behavioural/psychologically or combined interventions?

Non-specific chronic spinal pain (NSCSP), particularly low back pain (LBP) and neck pain (NP), results in significant personal, social and economic burden(here and here).[1,2] Our research group has recently published a systematic review and meta-analysis[3] in the Journal of Pain comparing the effectiveness of conservative interventions for … [Read more...]

Making decisions about activity when your back hurts

Participating in physical activity is an important part of recovering from low back pain. The fear-avoidance model is often used to explain the way in which people who have pain approach activity. This model proposes that when someone experiences pain they may either avoid movement and activity due to fear of further pain or injury, or they … [Read more...]

A plausible, alternate hypothesis for patient reports of asymmetries within the pelvis

The existence of positional faults of the intra-pelvic joints (sacroiliac joints, symphysis pubis) resulting in pelvic asymmetries remains a hotly debated topic amongst clinicians and researchers in the field of pelvic girdle pain. Check Chapter 46 in the latest edition of Grieve’s Modern Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy for some different takes on … [Read more...]

The impact of pain on motivation:  Should I stay or should I go?

Contemporary biopsychosocial models of chronic pain argue that the experience of pain emerges, and is influenced by, an interaction and integration of biological, psychosocial, and social factors.[1]  However, among scientists who study biopsychosocial models, the “bio” part of the model is often underdeveloped.  A greater understanding of how … [Read more...]

Pain may or may not inhibit (chronic low back) pain

In 2014 David Yarnitsky hypothesised that people may be characterised by profiles that vary from pro- to anti-nociceptive. Those with pro-nociceptive profiles would likely show a reduced capacity to enrol the body’s own pain inhibitory mechanisms, and heightened sensitivity to repetitive, painful stimuli. Those with anti-nociceptive profiles would … [Read more...]

I can feel your pain so clearly that it makes me trigger my defence mechanisms!

We are very pleased to be hosting Prof Serge Marchand for PainAdelaide 2016. His team recently published an interesting paper and we thought it was a great opportunity for us, and for all those coming to PainAdelaide or subscribing to PainAdelaide at your place (click here to buy a pass), to get a quick window into his work.   The mere … [Read more...]

Reflections on Pain Sensitivity

Pain sensitivity is thought to be a characteristic of each individual that affects the way a painful stimulus is perceived. In simple terms, being pain hyper- or hyposensitive results in the perception of the same stimulus as very painful or slightly painful, respectively. As a matter of fact, the same trauma results in extremely different amounts … [Read more...]

When pain is chronic, is a pain score the right basis for opioid treatment?

Our clinical focus on pain scores began in the 1980s when underutilization of opioids to treat pain in patients dying of cancer was first acknowledged and addressed.  For a number of different reasons – sometimes fear of prescribing because of drug regulations, sometimes lack of availability because of restrictions on production, importation and … [Read more...]

Tactile hyperalgesia: new central mechanisms?

Primary nociceptor activity is clearly not the only mechanism that can increase central sensitivity and pain. For example, certain cognitive and emotional states can also enhance pain and act centrally. A recent proposal has suggested that associative learning mechanisms such as classical conditioning, may also contribute to the clinical … [Read more...]