Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Prevention of Chronic Pain and Opioid Abuse

Chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) is a common and debilitating problem that occurs in a significant number of patients following surgery. Orthopedic surgeries are consistently associated with high postoperative pain, with the prevalence of chronic pain at 3–24 months to be 20% or more after Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) and 8% or more after Total … [Read more...]

Some good news for America’s Back Pain Problem?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a mock interview for a new research fellowship with our national research council. In my rather sheltered life, these interviews are a rather big deal – whether or not I am to remain a government-funded medical researcher hangs on the line and the chances are intimidatingly thin. The mock interview then, aims to give … [Read more...]

Yelp Offers New Insights into the Pain Management Experiences of Patients and Caregivers

A team of researchers, physicians, and computer scientists at Penn’s Center for Health Care Innovation have explored the various ways in which social media data can be used to investigate some of the most pressing issues in medicine. Some topics investigated include inequality in medical outcomes among different populations, trends among people … [Read more...]

Models of Care In Musculoskeletal Pain Management – Should We Be Learning From The Compensation ‘Comparator’ Group?

Contextual factors play a critical role in musculoskeletal pain[1] and consequently also pain related disability[2]. This is demonstrated powerfully in the compensation arena. The compensable context is associated with comparatively inferior outcomes, including poorer responses to interventions[3-5]. In a circular argument, the context itself is … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Translational Pain Research

Over the past ten years a number of articles have been written detailing the success of researchers in understanding the neurobiology of pain. Over this same period, however, little progress has been made in the development of new long-term interventions for the treatment of chronic pain. Perhaps the most compelling commentary on this topic is the … [Read more...]

Who responds well to psychologically-based treatments for chronic pain?

How do we know whether a patient is likely to do well in the psychologically-based treatment we offer them? The truth is, at least for the moment, we don’t. At least not in any way that is evidence-based or precise. If you work clinically and are anything like me, this might sit rather uncomfortably. I work with patients with chronic pain and … [Read more...]

The STarT Back Tool for people with chronic low back pain – strengths and limitations

The STarT Back Tool (SBT)[1] is a 9-item, self-report questionnaire that includes treatment modifiable domains (spread of pain, disability, and psychological factors).[2] It subgroups patients with non-specific low back pain (LBP) into low, medium, and high risk of future disability with the purpose of matching each subgroup to a care pathway. The … [Read more...]

Does early stress or adversity increase the likelihood of chronic pain for kids?

The short answer is “it’s unclear”; but as a pediatric pain psychologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston, MA, USA), I am currently looking to increase our understanding of this relationship. Historically, going through certain stressful experiences in childhood (also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs]; abuse, … [Read more...]

What does best-practice patient education look like?

It comes as no surprise to any health professional that one of the most important, time consuming and arguably, most rewarding aspects of our practice is providing ‘advice and education’ to our patients. This may include discussing their concerns, teaching skills and in many cases re-educating unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. What I found very … [Read more...]

Announcing the 2018 EPIC scholarship

We started the EPIC scholarship back in 2015 and awarded the first three winners for the Abdominal and Pelvic Pain Conference of 2017. The entire purpose of the EPIC scholarship is to help other people have the opportunity to attend a conference that would normally not be possible.  While not all conferences are created equally, every conference … [Read more...]