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...]

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...]

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...]

Overhauling the design of psychological treatments for pain: Time for a radical change?

Morley and colleagues[1] recently conducted a topical review that focuses on meta-analyses for evaluating psychological treatments for chronic pain. I enjoyed reading this opinionated and somewhat strongly worded call to, in short – do better. Published in one of the premier journals in the field, PAIN, the authors are quite bold in their … [Read more...]

How emotions influence pain perception in chronic pain

Sandra Kamping

Emotions change how we perceive pain. In healthy volunteers, positive affect is associated with reduced pain, while negative mood is associated with amplification of pain sensations (Meagher, Arnau, & Rhudy, 2001). Healthy participants rate painful experimental stimuli during the viewing of positive pictures as less intense and unpleasant than … [Read more...]

The faulty alarm system problem: A plausible explanation

rat

Qu. What do a rat, a fur coat, and a Santa mask have in common? Ans. Ethically dodgy science! ‘Little Albert’ was the victim of early 20th century psychology experimentation. At nine months of age he was given a white rat, and then frightened by a loud noise whenever he reached for it. Naturally, he came to fear white rats. Surprisingly, he also … [Read more...]

Don’t look and it won’t hurt

Marion Hoefle BiM Guest blogger

In every-day life, painful events do not occur in isolation but often comprise input from additional sensory modalities. As a consequence, certain sensory inputs, like the visual percept of a needle approaching our skin when getting an injection, are inseparably linked to pain. To reduce the pain, health professionals often advise us to not look at … [Read more...]

There is no such thing as a new idea continued

(continued from last post)…Socio-cognitive models have been used by health psychologist to increase our understanding of a variety of health behaviours.  What about disability associated with low back pain?  If we can think of disability as made up of specific behaviours then and if these behaviours are intentional it follows that people with low … [Read more...]

There is no such thing as a new idea

For my first BIM post I wanted to blog about an article that I read some years ago that had probably the biggest impact on my thinking on low back pain and disability and 15 years later still informs the way that I think about pain and disability. Around the mid 1990s when I first started research in low back pain a UK-based health psychologist … [Read more...]

How is a raven like a writing desk?

Lewis Carroll paints a picture of a world where very little makes sense; an adult wonderland seen through a child’s eyes. Yet, who is to say that what we see and the behaviours that we adopt really make sense to others? I was reading (not Alice in Wonderland this time) an interesting paper recently that suggested that when natural ambiguities … [Read more...]