Promising results from a graded retraining programme in chronic back pain

Reduction in pain and disability with a graded sensorimotor retraining program in chronic back pain Our team recently returned home from Darwin, where we all attended the Australian Pain Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting.  We all presented some of our work up there and had a lot of fun while we were at it.  I presented a poster, based on some … [Read more...]

What’s in a name? Nociception by any other name will hurt, or not hurt, just as much

A while back I wrote a piece about Consciousness and Pain, in which I argued that consciousness might be the key ingredient for pain.  I even tried my hand at a bit of maths, with this little equation (not to be taken too exactly): pain = nociception + consciousness.  I got a great response to this post.  People had some really interesting points … [Read more...]

Sadness, soreness and staying alert—all in the same place

The integration of negative affect, pain and cognitive control in the cingulate cortex is a recently published review, which raises some interesting ideas [1]. The best place to start is with a bit of neuroanatomy...if you were to cut your brain straight down the middle into two hemispheres and check out the medial surface of both hemispheres … [Read more...]

Can one have pain and not know it?

By Flavia Di Pietro I think about this a lot.  It leads me to ponder the distinction between pain and nociception.  We found a chapter on exactly this in a great book we are slowly reviewing at BiM – The Science of Pain.  The chapter’s title grabbed me: Conciousness and Pain.  It’s really got me thinking about both, and in particular that the … [Read more...]

Lions and lollipops. The brain’s amazing race for meaning.

Some take the tube, others the train...The Amazing Race in the brain It makes sense that we need to process and respond to some stuff we see quicker than other stuff we see.  Take for instance a lion versus a lollipop.  This paper by Pessoa and Adolphs explores the mechanisms behind emotional processing of visual stimuli, and more specifically … [Read more...]

Introducing DAMIEN – the brain’s default mode network

Numerous studies involving functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, tell us that chronic back pain (CBP) alters brain function well beyond the feeling of pain and can cause impairments like depression, impaired decision-making and sleep disturbance [1,2]. It was Baliki’s group in 2008 which confirmed for the first time that CBP … [Read more...]

How the brain makes us feel

Bud Craig’s 2009 paper: How do you feel—now?  The anterior insula and human awareness brings together findings of numerous authors in a discussion of functional imaging of the anterior insular cortex (AIC) and the starring role it plays in human awareness.  The groundwork for this recent Perspective, and arguably for much of the research in the … [Read more...]