Scientists around the world are looking for the best way to treat chronic pain patients. But finding evidence that supports the best practice model isn't always easy. In this article, researchers from the Netherlands ask the question, Are we measuring what we need to measure?
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.
Chronic pain is an increasing problem in the developed world, however, limited medical resources are causing longer than desirable waiting periods for assessment and treatment for the pain. According to recent statistics, chronic pain affects 15 percent to 29 percent of the general population.
The authors of this article reviewed the access to chronic care treatment and the effects of increasing waiting times.
Pain is an experience that is influenced by many factors. It is not only a physical experience, but is influenced by emotional states such as depression, anxiety, fear, motivation, and previous experience with pain.
M.J.L Sullivan. Toward a biopsychomotor conceptualization of pain: implications for research and intervention. Clin J Pain. 2008. Vol 24, Num 4 Pp.281-289.
Research shows that pain experience has physical, cognitive, motivational, and emotional factors. Research also demonstrates that persons with depression and catastrophizing will often display more pain behavior in response to pain. They are also more likely to avoid activity for fear of increased pain, which then leads to more disability.
M.J.L Sullivan. Toward a biopsychomotor conceptualization of pain: implications for research and intervention. Clin J Pain. 2008.
Pain is a very subjective sensation - people don't all feel pain the same way. We also have a tendency to want to be able to see what is causing the pain. How many times have you heard someone looking at a bad wound say, "oh, that's got to hurt"? If people don't see the injury happen or see the results, it's often not something that they consider as being very painful.
Healthcare professionals tend to use terms like chronic pain and acute pain without realizing that the patients may not understand what we mean and this is a good question.
Acute pain is a pain that is usually of sudden onset and something that you can pinpoint and treat. Examples of acute pain are:
I've been thinking about the latest computer technology. Is it possible to use virtual reality programs to help overcome chronic pain? My son is doing a special science project at school. This might be a good one to pursue.Posted May 20th, 2008 by Matt
Scientists are beginning to examine virtual reality (VR) as a way to address chronic pain. VR allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. It could be real or imagined.
I have chronic muscle pain and what feels like muscle spasms that might be related to fibromyalgia. It's not clear just what's causing my symptoms. Can you explain to me in layman's terms what's going on?Posted May 20th, 2008 by Matt
Scientists aren't sure what is the exact mechanism behind musculoskeletal pain associated with fibromyalgia. It appears that there is a wide range of differences between patients. Pain intensity and duration varies from person to person.
What we do know is that the cramplike, diffuse muscle aching of fibromyalgia occurs when muscle receptors called nociceptors get turned on or turned up. Group III and group IV muscle receptors (nociceptors) are affected.
The author suggests that the notion that pain is purely a sensory phenomenon is flawed. That in fact, patients with pain also differ in how they behave. Persons with pain report higher levels of physical and emotional distress, and suffering. The author proposes that persons in pain also act differently from persons without pain. Facial expressions, moans or sighs, guarding or rubbing the affected body part, altered gait pattern are typical behaviors.