Pain

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Your pain is in fact produced in your head and it will produce it more readily and more intensely if you have what you think is clear evidence that something is wrong. Mislav Marohnić/Flickr

No brain, no pain: it is in the mind, so test results can make it worse

People develop a long-term problem after an episode of back pain if they expect to not recover. Steps by the medical sector to avoid catatrophising back pain by not suggesting scans will help.
It’s not in the bones, but it might not be in the brain either. X-ray image by www.shutterstock.com

Chronic pain isn’t all in the brain, which is good news for sufferers

One in five of us has been experiencing chronic pain over the past three months, or longer. Chronic pain won’t kill us; it just makes our lives miserable. More miserable, research suggests, than for example…
Baby Joe (Joseph Christopher Wilson) at 1 day old did nothing but sleep, feed and cry.

Could more equal less when it comes to consciousness and pain?

Will we ever have a scientific measure of consciousness? This was the essay topic I set my student a few months ago – only days before I went on maternity leave for the recent birth of my baby Joe (more…
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…

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…
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…
Army recruitment: fear is a friend not foe. Matt Brock

Emotions affect how pain feels, as soldiers know only too well

Pain is one of the most powerful weapons of war. Western Front soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon dubbed war a “sausage machine” because it tore through and crushed tissues and organs, and dismembered…
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…
figure.

The science of dread: anticipating pain makes it worse

For most people, a chocolate today is better than one tomorrow. Economists refer to this as “future discounting”, where we prefer to have nice things now rather than wait and unpleasant things later rather…
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…

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