Tactile acuity training meets back pain meets Frankie goes to Hollywood

Cormac Ryan

One of the most exciting areas of pain science at the moment is brain training. To me this is the idea that the patient’s brain image of the painful area does not match the physical body itself and this mismatch, for some reason, maintains the pain. Brain training interventions attempt to correct this mismatch by reshaping the brain image to … [Read more...]

Illusory self-identification with an avatar reduces arousal responses to painful stimuli

Daniele_Romano

Pain experience can be modulated at different levels of processing and is influenced by higher cognitive function like attention and expectations. It has been shown recently that looking at one’s own hand, but not at a neutral object or another person’s hand, induces analgesic effects while receiving acute painful stimulation (Longo, et al., … [Read more...]

Can Pain Neuroscience Education Improve Endogenous Pain Inhibition?

Many chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders are characterized by the presence of central sensitization, which implies that the central nervous system is in a hypersensitive state in those who suffer from these disorders. Sensitivity to pain results from the outcome of the battle between pathways which facilitate the passage of nociceptive … [Read more...]

Emerging research trends on the relationship between sleep and pain

The relationship between pain and sleep quality is well reported in the literature. Sleep complaints are present in up to 88% of chronic pain disorders [1] and at least 50% of patients presenting with insomnia also suffer chronic pain [2]. This short blog post focusses on a recent review by Finan, Goodin and Smith (2013) who aimed to identify … [Read more...]

Directing Attention to Pain

Pain captures our attention instantaneously, and makes it hard to pay attention to anything else. But is it possible to direct attention to pain voluntarily and in a specific manner? Which brain mechanisms would drive voluntary direction of attention to pain? Why is this important? It is likely that chronic pain patients have exaggerated … [Read more...]

From Cue to Meaning

Oleg Lobanov

Sensory cues in our environment continuously guide processing in the brain. A simple touch, tone or a flash of light shapes our thought process countless numbers of times per day. In pain, cues leading to expectations of higher upcoming pain not only increase subjective pain ratings, but also increase the degree of activity in brain areas engaged … [Read more...]

Doses and processes in pain management

Amanda Williams

In considering whether we can answer the question of whether there is a dose-response relationship in psychologically-based pain management for chronic pain problems, we need to step back a bit and think about what dose-response means. It’s based on a very simple notion of medication, perhaps of analgesia: that a small dose produces a small effect, … [Read more...]

Medical exercise therapy breaks the chronic pain cycle, even in the longer term, in patients with persistent anterior knee pain

Fig 2

In general there is a lack of long-term success in treating people with persistent musculoskeletal pain and long-term anterior knee pain or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is no exception [1].  It is reported that approximately 25% of patients with PFPS continue to have pain and dysfunction one year or more after physiotherapy, the most … [Read more...]

Dying values? Does pain matter?

Many established values of palliative care practice (like symptom relief, truth-telling, alleviation of suffering) are based on research done outside of Africa, yet African patients may have different values when it comes to death and dying.  A group of South African researchers sought to find out what processes Xhosa people (a 7.9 million-strong … [Read more...]

We all know that falling over hurts, but can pain come before a fall?

Brendon Stubbs

We have all fallen over, haven’t we? Well you know that it hurts, and you can imagine this is also the case for those of an older age with an increased risk for falls. But how about vice versa? Is pain itself a risk factor for falls in this older group?  This is important as preventing falls is a serious public health issue since fall related … [Read more...]