A lack of variability in people with pain? I’m intrigued…

A recent paper by Falla and colleagues [1] evaluated back muscle activity (via electromyography) during a repetitive lifting task and compared two groups: a chronic/recurrent low back pain group and a healthy control group. What is unique about this study is that they evaluated back muscle activity using a grid of electrodes to characterise the … [Read more...]

Interoception and pain – is it better to be ignorant?

I just read a fascinating paper by Pollatos and colleagues[1] in a recent issue of Pain. This paper evaluated the relationship between interoception (ie, the ability to consciously perceive signals from the body) and pain perception. This study was based on the theory that emotive stimuli initiate changes in physiological and bodily processes and … [Read more...]

Expecting bad things – what are the repercussions?

I am currently on the train to Wauchope, NSW to visit my husband who is doing a rural medical placement. Now in my head, I decided that train food would be shocking and so when low and behold, I got my meal, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not only edible but quite…delicious?  I know! It knocked me for one too. However, this is … [Read more...]

My knee is aching so its going to rain

I remember being amazed by my uncle. He has arthritis in his knees and as a small child I was fascinated by his ‘psychic knees’. And by ‘psychic’ I am really describing the situation where he would look at me and knowingly state, “It’s going to rain…my knees are aching.”  And then it would! How did his knees know? What aspects of weather could … [Read more...]

First impressions do count! Especially if you’re stressed.

We humans are a judgemental lot. We make spontaneous personality trait inferences based on the behaviour of others almost every day. Think about that person that you saw throw rubbish out their car window – you probably immediately thought of that person as selfish or inconsiderate. These first impressions may not always be accurate, but they are … [Read more...]

Findings on imaging for whiplash? It’s a miracle! What does it actually mean?

Whiplash is one of those conditions that often strikes fear into the hearts of clinicians, mainly because chronic whiplash is very hard to treat. This not helped by the fact that there is scepticism regarding the condition itself due to its lack of objective findings. Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) are largely diagnosed based on mechanism of … [Read more...]

Why are my mirror neurons going crazy? Oh right, it’s because I’m female

I’m not going to lie, I struggle with studies that focus on gender differences and tell me that because of my biological make-up, I’m destined to be a certain way or react in a specific manner. Now don’t get me wrong, overall at a population level, I can understand that these gender differences likely do exist, but it’s hard to take at an … [Read more...]

What happens when systematic reviews tell us different things?

Conventional wisdom tells us that when we want an answer to a clinical question, such as what is the evidence for treatment ‘X’, we should look to systematic reviews because they collate all the available evidence on that topic. Problematically though, sometimes systematic reviews on the same topic don’t all give us the same conclusions. This … [Read more...]

The illusion of external agency – part 1

So I was reading through some papers and found an oldie but a goody by Gilbert et al[1] that I’d like to share. This paper aimed to experimentally test what the authors call ‘The illusion of external agency’, or in simple terms, the idea that a greater being looks out for your well-being. Now before this turns into a punch-throwing, ninja-kicking … [Read more...]

Bizarro World at the World Congress of Physical Therapy

I have to admit, I’m a massive Seinfeld fan. So my apologies for this blog post title as it reflects my constant need to infuse daily life with Seinfeld references. For those of you not obsessed with Seinfeld, Bizarro World is an alternate reality discussed in the Seinfeld episode, Bizarro Jerry, when Elaine (one of the main characters) meets a new … [Read more...]