Are symptoms of depression a risk factor for low back pain?

It is well known that both low back pain and depression are highly prevalent, costly, and disabling conditions. The prevalence of patients suffering with both is high. Clinicians often encounter these complex patients and face challenging decisions for their management. Our research group, led by Dr Paulo Ferreira from the Arthritis and … [Read more...]

Tweeting Back

Globally, around 3.2-billion people are connected to the Internet. Online technologies are now ever-present in daily life, and they are influencing healthcare in new and exciting ways. The World Health Organisation has defined this phenomenon as “eHealth” - the practice of medicine and public health supported by electronic processes and … [Read more...]

Identification of pain from facial expressions using spatial frequency information

We often hear that pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience which is highly personal and subjective. However, pain also happens in a social context and we are beginning to understand more about how we communicate pain to others. As well as talking about pain we also know that pain can be communicated to others through nonverbal … [Read more...]

Vitamin D, osteoarthritis and pain

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative (aaagh – what a threatening word that is!) condition of joints which gets worse over time[1]. It is the leading reason for knee and hip replacement surgery - about 1.8 million Australians were diagnosed with OA in 2011-12.[1] A new study[2] has set out to determine if vitamin D might be a key moderator of the … [Read more...]

Can romantic partners help to reduce pain?

Often times, when we experience pain, we are not alone. We call upon friends, family, and romantic partners to help support us through the pain. Our research team was interested in whether this social context affects an individual’s pain experience. We conducted two experimental studies with romantic couples to understand more about how romantic … [Read more...]

What is acceptance of pain and why would anyone want it?

Over recent decades, a reasonable amount of data has been generated which suggests that greater acceptance of chronic pain is associated with fewer pain-related difficulties, such as distress and disability, and better overall quality of life (for reviews, see: McCracken & Vowles, 2014; Scott & McCracken, 2015; Vowles & Thompson, 2011). … [Read more...]

Explainer – what is pain?

This is an expanded and re-targeted version of the original piece, 'Explainer-What is Pain', published in The Conversation. ‘..if someone has a pain in his hand, then the hand does not say so ….. one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer: one looks into his face.’ Wittgenstein 1953[1] ‘So what is pain?’ It might seem like an easy question – … [Read more...]

How different cultures experience and talk about pain

Roland Sussex, The University of Queensland   Many things contribute to how we experience and express pain. Gender, age, education, socioeconomic status, the relative power of the participants in the conversation, and whether the person in pain is speaking in their mother tongue or another language all affect a person’s experience of … [Read more...]

Genders experience pain differently and women have it more

Susan Evans More women than men suffer from chronic pain, described as pain that persists for more than six months. In addition, much of this pain remains undiagnosed or untreated. As well as the pain associated with menstruation or the bearing of children, waiting rooms of pain physicians, rheumatologists and gastroenterologists show clear … [Read more...]

The right words matter when talking about pain

Michael Vagg, Barwon Health It is no coincidence that we describe the “pain” of loneliness or the “agony” of rejected romantic feelings. Paper cuts can be “excruciatingly painful”, but so can watching the social mishaps of Basil Fawlty or David Brent. Personal criticism can be “stinging”. The book The Patient’s Brain outlines the evidence … [Read more...]