What is the relationship between physical activity and low back pain?

The Australian Twin low BACK pain (AUTBACK) study Almost all guidelines for the prevention and management of low back pain (LBP) emphasise the importance of regular physical activity and exercise [1, 2]. Surprisingly, the question of whether physical inactivity in general, or specific forms of physical activity, are risk or protective factors for … [Read more...]

Cytokines and all the ills that flesh is heir to

Cytokines are engaged in a perpetual identity crisis of sorts. Their role in healing and restoration of tissue integrity and homeostasis is invaluable. Yet, simultaneously, their involvement in multiple medical conditions points to their darker nature.  Given that inflammation is a common factor in many diseases, cytokines are of considerable … [Read more...]

Measuring impact of research using social media and conventional terms – a dog’s breakfast?

A little while ago we ran an experiment looking at social media and whether it has any influence on people reading original research papers[1] (Lorimer is going to talk more about the actual experiment in the next blog).  While we were in the process of considering our results I was surprised by the fact that there were no clear definitions of … [Read more...]

Can pain change our brain maps?

We recently published a paper on the function of the primary somatosensory cortex in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is a region of the cortex –the outer layer of the brain –which houses a precise and organised map of our body’s surface. Every part of our body surface is represented here by a network or … [Read more...]

It worked before but now it doesn’t? Graded Motor Imagery in Clinical Practice

While pain may be a universal experience, one experience that can often plague and frustrate everyone is that time when something works one moment but then all of a sudden doesn’t work the next. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing this you’ll find that it applies to many things in life whether it be the temperamental office photocopying … [Read more...]

Placebo Analgesia

One of the best workshops I attended at the IASP congress in Milano was on placebo analgesia, run by three very classy speakers: Luana Colloca, Ulrike Bingel, and Regine Klinger. I learnt lots about the neurobiological mechanisms of placebo and nocebo, and came away with lots to ponder.  This is what I learnt: The rostral anterior cingulate … [Read more...]

It hurts. It’s in my genes.

“Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease." - William Osler On the Educational Value of the Medical Society, In Aequanimitas, p.331 As we know there have been any number of chronic pain … [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...]

I didn’t do anything to deserve this….

And now you’re going to pay! Perceptions of injustice can emerge from a variety of conditions such as injury as the result of another’s actions – or in the case of not installing appropriate safety procedures – inactions - the experience of undeserved or irreparable loss or if the individual is exposed to a situation that transgresses human rights, … [Read more...]

Sporty rats beat sedentary rats paws down

When we ask whether something in medicine is validated by science, the basic approach is to demonstrate biological plausibility (basic science research) as well as actual real-world efficacy (public health research). In other words, it is more interesting when something that works is actually supported by known biological mechanisms. We feel that … [Read more...]