Michael’s marvellous microglia in mice and (not just) men talk at NeuPSIG 2015, Nice.

Michael Salter gave a fascinating plenary talk at NeuPSIG 2015, on the role of microglia in chronic pain. Microglia are currently a hot topic in pain research, but the world of neuroimmune interactions is pretty confusing for those of us outside it. This talk provided a little porthole for us to peer through, to make sense of some of that … [Read more...]

Role of psychosocial factors in the development of multisite pain

The Journal of Pain recently published a paper that caught our eye for its simple design and clever investigation of the role of psychosocial factors in the development of multisite pain. And if you got stuck on the word development, then you’ll know why we got excited. Previous research into this has been correlational: depression, fear of pain … [Read more...]

What to call the amplification of nociceptive signals in the CNS that contribute to widespread pain?

Clifford Woolf, who some may know as the ‘father of central sensitisation’, recently wrote a commentary to PAIN.[1] It piqued our interest because it was about the use of the term ‘central sensitisation’, and we suspect we know people who’d insist that the term ‘central sensitisation’ should only be used to describe changes at the dorsal horn, and … [Read more...]

World Congress on Pain comes to you. 4: Learning Pain pt 2

Have a quick skim of the last blog post: this one follows on, as Part 2 of our synopsis of Professor Johan Vlaeyen’s plenary lecture at the World Congress on Pain... Having explained non-associative learning and Pavlovian conditioning, Prof Vlaeyen moved on to operant conditioning, a behavioural model of learning which Skinner proposed and … [Read more...]

World Congress on Pain comes to you. 3: Learning Pain pt 1

Professor Johan Vlaeyen delivered his plenary lecture at the World Congress on Pain over video. The IASP promised to provide the recording on their website, but some of you had already asked for blog posts on the congress sessions, so I will provide a synopsis of Prof Vlaeyen’s lecture here. His talk was a helpful exploration of the roles that … [Read more...]

A clash of beliefs: why our Western approach to pain didn’t work in a rural Zulu community

Graduating as a health professional can be both exciting and daunting. When we first qualified as physiotherapists, we couldn’t wait to get started. We were sent to a beautiful, rural, remote area of South Africa where we started clinical work under minimal supervision. But it was not long before we found ourselves out of our depth and wondering … [Read more...]

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...]

Dying values? Does pain matter?

Many established values of palliative care practice (like symptom relief, truth-telling, alleviation of suffering) are based on research done outside of Africa, yet African patients may have different values when it comes to death and dying.  A group of South African researchers sought to find out what processes Xhosa people (a 7.9 million-strong … [Read more...]

Potluck? Might Cannabis reduce neuropathic pain?

The Journal of Pain’s 4th most downloaded article in 2013 (Wilsey ey al 2013) is a study of vaporised cannabis for the treatment of neuropathic pain.[1]  Thirty-nine patients, with various types of refractory neuropathic pain, participated in a double-blind crossover study, receiving low-dose (1.29%), medium dose (3.53%) or placebo cannabis in each … [Read more...]