A misty, multidimensional crystal ball

Wouldn’t it be great if we could give our patients a prognosis that is evidence based and tailored to their presentation? Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is, however, a complex multidimensional problem, and over 200 factors (from multiple dimensions such as demographics, psychological, social, health and lifestyle etc.) may be prognostic for people … [Read more...]

Placebo Analgesia from a Rubber Hand

A sense of embodiment, that is, ownership, over one’s own body is a pervasive sensation that is rarely interrupted or lost. Despite being ubiquitous, the influence of embodiment on treatment outcomes is still unknown. If, for instance, the feeling of ownership was lost over a limb, as can be the case following neurological damage, how might this … [Read more...]

Can we train pain-related attention?

Spoiler alert: This blogpost contains null findings.  Paying too much attention to pain is bad. At least, that’s the idea for people who have chronic benign pain, where the pain no longer provides much useful information about the state of the body. People with chronic pain often report being frequently interrupted by pain, meaning that they’re … [Read more...]

Are people who practice yoga better at motor imagery?

Yoga has been practiced around the world for thousands of years and usually involves a series of integrated mind-body exercises – concentrating on stretching, breathing, balance, co-ordination and control. It also involves significant aspects of meditation and relaxation. These days in Western cultures, yoga is often practised within the context of … [Read more...]

When pain kills – chronic pain and chronic diseases

One high profile campaign to raise awareness of persistent pain uses the tagline ‘persistent pain doesn’t kill, but it does ruin lives’. This is a fair argument, but recent data raise the possibility of an increased risk of death from other diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, cancer) in people who suffer from chronic pain[1]. We now need to find … [Read more...]

Can preschool-age children reliably report the intensity of their pain?

From infancy onward, mammals express pain by vocalization, body movement, and facial actions. Such expression can communicate danger to others or elicit support. But these observable actions are not always specific to pain, and they diminish as pain persists. In humans, the understanding, prevention, and relief of pain is helped by receptive and … [Read more...]

Talking about endometriosis – part 2

This is the second summary in a series of two blog posts highlighting valuable information about our current understanding of mechanisms of pain in endometriosis from a recent review led by researchers at the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford [2]. It continues with peripheral mechanisms and then highlights the … [Read more...]

Talking about endometriosis – part 1

Do you have a female friend or family member who coughs up blood at the time of her period? This rather bizarre occurrence is a very rare, yet documented clinical feature of endometriosis [1]. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) lodges outside the uterus and induces an estrogen-dependent … [Read more...]

Quantitative sensory tests: are they stable over time?

We use quantitative sensory testing (QST) to explore how somatosensory information is processed in the nervous system in people with painful conditions such as low back pain, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. QST has shown promise for clinical applications such as evaluating responses to interventions (Grosen, Fischer et al. 2013), … [Read more...]

Data comparison made easy! A Core Outcome Measurement set for complex regional PAin syndrome Clinical sTudies (COMPACT)

This work was driven by a mutual desire to advance the understanding of the mechanisms and management of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). For many years, some of us working in the field of CRPS have been frustrated by the challenges of synthesising research evidence. Specifically, the absence of an international, standardised set of … [Read more...]