Pain is a Symptom and a Pathologic Condition
In this article, new ideas and research around the topic of pain are presented. A summary is provided of papers presented at the first Pain, Mind, and Movement conference. This conference was sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). It was held in Cairns, Australia in 2005.
The overall theme of the conference was on the mechanisms, measurement, and management of chronic pain. The basic premise was that pain is a multidimensional problem. Chronic pain is both a symptom and a pathologic condition. It involves the mind, movement, and behavior.
Newer models of pain use a biologic-psychologic-motor control idea of movement related to pain. This is shortened to the biopsychomotor conceptual model. This model recognizes the complexity of pain and the human response to pain.
More recent experimental research has focused on the muscle's response to painful stimuli. Scientists have found that painful muscles do not have increased electrical activity when at rest. This is contrary to previous beliefs. Painful muscles do, however, show a decrease in range of motion, force, and endurance. And pain doesn't just occur in the muscles. Other tissues are also affected.
Virtual reality has a place in pain management. Perceived pain can be reduced with this technique. Research is just beginning to explore this novel area. The marriage of science and technology continues to drive research efforts to find better ways to treat pain.
Virtual reality is an analgesic intervention. It uses concepts of distraction, expectation, and belief systems to provide patients with an effective pain management tool. As discussed at the 11th World Congress of Pain conference, pain, mind, and movement are just a few of the important factors to consider when studying, understanding, measuring, and managing pain as a problem.
Maureen J. Simmonds, PhD, PT, et al. Pain, Mind, and Movement. In The Clinical Journal of Pain. May 2008. Vol. 24. No. 4. Pp. 279-280.
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