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...]

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...]

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...]

Upper extremity exercise in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis – does EXTRA help?

It is well known that exercise is good for health and wellbeing - but is it OK to exercise if you have painful joints caused by an inflammatory arthritic condition? This is a question that concerns many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects about 0.5% population globally and, although advances in drug treatment have … [Read more...]

Better than what? Any treatment for back pain can be effective… it might just depend on what you compare it with

Was my treatment helpful, benign or harmful? Consider the common clinical scenario – a patient presents complaining of pain. You decide to administer a particular treatment. Over time the patient’s symptoms improve. Do you then succumb to bias and presume your intervention facilitated their recovery? Do you consider the possibility that recovery … [Read more...]

It’s time for a shake up: Driving system wide change to improve musculoskeletal pain care and outcomes

Shaking it up Most of us working in the pain field know the many challenges well. Challenges are widespread, reaching from the health systems (macro) level, downstream through service delivery level and into the clinical (micro) coalface. How can we approach this complexity to achieve person-centred care and respond to the escalating burden … [Read more...]

Self-efficacy and paradoxical dependence in chronic back pain

Chronic back pain is one of the most common medical problems patients experience, and it may also be psychologically and socially disabling. People with chronic back pain are significantly more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions than the general population. I wanted to get a deeper appreciation of how … [Read more...]