Brace yourself

Mary O'Keeffe

Despite the popularity of exercise programmes that emphasise “core stability” for the prevention and treatment of chronic low back pain (LBP), numerous high quality randomised controlled trials (RCT) (e.g. here, here and here) have not found them to be superior to other therapies such as general exercise. In fact, core stability exercise programs … [Read more...]

How Risky is the Pain Treatment I am Considering

Matthew Hunsinger

When a medical practitioner prescribes a medical treatment for pain, one of my first questions is whether there are side effects or other potential risks. I contend that every pain treatment is inherently risky; the question is how much risk is associated with a particular treatment. Most of us probably rely on the medical practitioners with whom … [Read more...]

No man is an island

Sam McLean

Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood influences chronic pain development after motor vehicle collision, and this effect is moderated by a common genetic variation that influences HPA axis function. We all like to believe that we are impervious to our surroundings. It’s reassuring to feel that we are “captain of our own ship”, charting our own … [Read more...]

What central pain processing mechanisms could be responsible for the development of poor pain scores

John Barbis

When patients do not improve after surgery, the search for an answer can be complex and often disappointing. Valencia et al, in a well-performed, rather complex study, try to tease out the components of that answer [1]. Their study tries to determine what central pain processing mechanisms could be most responsible for the development of poor pain … [Read more...]

Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition? PART TWO

In our last blog (Chronic Pain: Lost Inhibition?) we talked about the role of the thalamus in the development and maintenance of orofacial neuropathic pain. We reported that painful trigeminal neuropathic pain (PTN) is associated with altered thalamic anatomy, function and biochemistry, which may disturb central processing and play a key role in … [Read more...]

Can diagnostic uncertainty bias patients’ memory?

Danijela Serbic

Our thoughts shape our emotional and behavioural responses. This is a well-established principle in psychological research and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We use preconceptions – known as “schemas” - to help us filter new and ambiguous information. These schemas are helpful in many ways, but they do not always serve us well: they will often … [Read more...]

But they walked, hopped and jumped on it!

From the days of my infancy as a physiotherapist, I was raised on the teaching that pain should be measured by subjective means only. You have to ask the patient. You cannot presume to judge the magnitude of their experience: you ask them, and they tell you. If they say it’s a 2 out of 10, that’s what it is. If they say it’s an 11 out of 10 (I see … [Read more...]

Weather Does Not Affect Back Pain

Everyone has a story about their back pain and one story you often hear is that the weather makes the person’s back pain worse. Topical now in Sydney as it is quite cold. We had an open mind on the issue because we had heard the story so many times but we also know that as a research question it was wide open as no-one had rigorously evaluated this … [Read more...]

A Sore Spot: Central or peripheral generation of chronic neuropathic pain?

Raja lab

A key question, of significant therapeutic consequence, regarding the neural mechanisms of chronic neuropathic pain is whether it is maintained by input from the periphery or by independent, central (spinal or supraspinal) generators.  In a recent issue of PAIN, two research groups reported their observations that suggest that input from primary … [Read more...]

Dr Andrew Moore on Evidence and Pain

The second of three keynote speaker interviews by Australian Pain Society at their annual conference: Dr Andrew Moore on evidence and pain and the effectiveness of certain types of drugs. Dr Andrew Moore is Director of Pain Research, Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, and Chairman of the International Association for the … [Read more...]