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Analysis and Comment (15)

Chilli might make it seem as though your face is on fire – so why is milk so soothing? Andrés Nieto Porras

Explainer: why chilli burns, and milk helps soothe the pain

Whether it’s a few flakes on a pizza or the spiciest vindaloo known to humankind, most people can tolerate or even enjoy the tingling, burning sensation chilli can bring. So how does chilli deliver its…
Only around 10% of the codeine dose will give you analgesia, but 100% of it will give you side effects. Andrzej Wilusz

Health Check: how do you choose strong painkillers?

Commonly used over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen will usually be strong enough to alleviate common aches and pains. But if you’re suffering from acute pain from dental…
While a flinch, or a grimace may provide us with clues, ultimately we only know that someone’s in pain if they tell us. the italian voice/Flickr

Understanding pain: can the brain provide all the answers?

We now know that there’s much more to pain than simply what is happening in the painful body part, and attention has turned to the role of the brain. But not even this mysterious organ can tell us everything…
Choose your over-the-counter painkiller based on the side effects you want to avoid. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: how do you choose over-the-counter painkillers?

If you’re anything like me, your medicine cupboard is chockers with various non-prescription pain remedies: liquids, pills, capsules, children’s painkillers, formulations that are “gentle on the stomach…
People who intentionally harm themselves aren’t always easy to identify or categorise. Noctem_/Flickr

Explainer: what is self-harm and why do people do it?

Deliberately inflicting pain or injury by cutting oneself or some other form of self-mutilation seems incomprehensible to many people. But it’s a common, typically secretive, experience for about 8% of…
Ouch. istolethetv

Explainer: why don’t some people feel pain?

For many years physicians and scientists have been studying people with congenital analgesia, a rare genetic disorder that means they don’t feel pain. People with the condition may have a sense of touch…
You may not forget the pain, but if you’re lucky, the end will justify the means. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: women forget the pain of childbirth

In an evolutionary sense, memory of pain serves an important purpose. Pain indicates a threat to our safety or our life, and human survival depends on us avoiding things that are going to kill us. Historically…
Hypnosis is a state of conscious awareness which most people experience many times each day. Beyonder

Explainer: how does hypnosis relieve pain?

Hypnosis in one form or another has been around for thousands of years, but until recently, evidence to support its biological and clinically powerful effects have been lacking. Today hypnosis is used…
There aren’t any miracle cures but there are a number of treatments that can reduce its severity. Flickr/Algo

Monday’s medical myth: osteoarthritis can be ‘cured’

Switch on daytime television on any given day and you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a cure for the debilitating and dreaded condition, osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there’s not. And that’s not…
Minimise bed rest and take short walks around the house if you’ve got low back pain.

Monday’s medical myth: bed rest is best for back pain

Severe low back pain is a common and dreaded problem that rivals only hay fever, asthma, hypertension and dermatitis as Australia’s leading cause of long-term illness. The instinctive response to severe…

Columnists (2)

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (11)

Itches and pain distinguish skin cancers

The prevalence of itches and pain in patients with skin cancer can help clinicians identify which of these cancers are melanoma…

Pain can be objectively measured

Scientists have found a means to objectively quantify pain. University of Michigan researchers have found the brain’s signature…

New way to measure pain

Researchers have developed a technique for measuring pain using magnetic resonance imaging. Over four studies they identified…

Sadness may enhance pain

Feeling sad while feeling pain may make the experience even more painful. Participants in a Japanese study were shown pictures…