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...]

Spinal manipulative therapy: a slow death by data?

Neil O'Connell 2

I am a recovering manual therapist. In my physio career I have moved from freshly qualified apprentice, eager to learn the secrets of what was sold as a powerful tool, particularly for spinal pain, via what might be classed as a skilled practitioner, certainly in terms of courses attended and assessment hoops jumped through, to someone who now … [Read more...]

Should we train deep trunk muscles to improve the clinical outcomes of low back pain?

Transversus abdominis (TrA) and lumbar multifidus (LM) are two deep trunk muscles implicated in maintaining spinal stability at rest and during physiological movements. A number of research studies have found that people with acute, chronic or recurrent low back pain (LBP) show abnormal changes in the physical characteristics (e.g. shape, … [Read more...]

The fascia and back pain – What does a chemical stimulation tell us about it?

Andreas Schilder

Back pain is a worldwide problem causing time lost from work, disability and economic cost. Over 75% of humans suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetime and the yearly prevalence of the working population is 8%, where the lower back represents the most mentioned region. Disorders of osseous structures, disc herniations or nerve root … [Read more...]

Acupuncture and awareness

We have just published the results of a small experiment looking at acupuncture in people with chronic low back pain (see here). Now that is not a sentence I thought I would ever write, so there is some explaining to do. Acupuncture is a common treatment for back pain and one that has been well researched. The outcome of this research effort is … [Read more...]

Low back pain: does shoe type make a difference?

Sian MacRae

Low back pain effects up to 80% of the population at some point in their life time. Although national and international guidelines recommend exercise therapy as a best practice in the management of chronic low back pain (pain that has been present for 3 months or greater) the long term benefits of exercises to people with low back pain are minimal. … [Read more...]

Bisphosphonates for chronic low back pain? An early test.

Bisphosphonates are well-established in the management of osteoporosis. These drugs retard bone resorption by targeting osteoclast cells. They encourage osteoclast apoptosis, a type of cell self-destruction. But bisphosphonates have been indulging in a bit of mission creep as they have been demonstrated to have analgesic properties. It is thought … [Read more...]

Antibiotics for low back pain revisited. Important questions asked.

Back in March we blogged about a new and intriguing trial published in the European Spine Journal (ESJ) that appeared to demonstrate that for a group of low back pain sufferers, a course of antibiotics may be an effective treatment. We got to this trial early, when it was published online but not yet in print, and we reported it in a gently … [Read more...]

Can baseline features of transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus predict low back pain?

Arnold Wong

Although approximately 60 to 80% of people experience low back pain (LBP) at least once in their lifetime, the exact causes of LBP remain unknown in 90% of the cases (known as non-specific LBP). Intriguingly, scientists have noted that patients with LBP commonly display abnormal changes in two trunk muscles, namely the transversus abdominis and the … [Read more...]

Expecto ergo sentio – I expect therefore I feel

Charlotte Vanden Bulcke

Imagine yourself suffering from lower back pain, wanting to grasp a newspaper from the floor. While trying to reach it, you might be afraid to feel pain. As a result, you might scan your back for bodily sensations that possibly signal pain or physical harm. Pain symptoms fulfill a vital warning function to prevent us from getting damaged. It … [Read more...]