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...]

Painful periods

Period pain Period or menstrual pain is also referred to as dysmenorrhoea, and is usually further classified as primary (no evidence of pathology) or secondary (linked to pathology such as endometriosis). Menstrual pain affects about 60% of women who are menstruating [6], although up to 90% of adolescents can be affected [2]. For a proportion … [Read more...]

Can pain be a classically conditioned response?

Well, what do you think? For those who are clinicians, how does your thinking about that question influence your clinical reasoning? Have you ever found yourself saying (or thinking) along lines like this? “Well, he still has pain, and it’s 6 years since his injury. I think that, now, bending forwards is associated with pain for him. We need to … [Read more...]

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...]