More than 100 million American suffer from chronic pain – in which pain signals continue in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years.
Did you know that trauma, even when there is no tissue or nerve damage, can cause chronic pain? Exactly how much pain and who is most vulnerable depends on which ‘stress genes’ we carry.
The way opioids work on the brain makes finding non-opioid treatments for addiction very challenging.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Two neuroscientists explain the cruel chemistry of opioid addiction and why this crisis could last a lifetime.
The U.S. has the highest daily opioid use rate in the world.
Most countries need to find a happy balance between the American attitude that all pain needs to be cured – and the ethos in other countries that pain is to be endured.
Scientists have taken atomic resolution snapshots of an opioid receptor interacting with a drug. Now they are using these images to design “biased” opioids that block pain without the dangerous side effects.
As doctors have learned more about the types of pain, they can better tailor treatment.
As knowledge of pain and the highly addictive nature of opioids has grown, so has the knowledge grown about pain and its origins. A pain specialist explains the intricacies, and how treatment is changing as a result.
Pain of the sick: ‘Anatomy of Expression,’ by Sir Charles Bell, 1806.
In today’s opioid crisis, why are some people with addictions treated with empathy and others with disdain? The answer to that question has roots in the 19th century.
Pain lets us know when there is something wrong, but sometimes our brains can trick us.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Trust Me I’m An Expert: The science of pain
The Conversation 58.7 MB (download)
Our podcast Trust Me, I'm An Expert, goes beyond the headlines and asks researchers to explain the evidence on issues making news. Today, we're talking pain and what science says about managing it.
There is a clear link between pain and depression, but does pain make us depressed, or does depression cause pain?
Having already had depression or anxiety increases the risk of developing persistent pain, and developing a chronically painful condition dramatically increases chances of becoming depressed.
Fibromyalgia can be made more difficult when the pain doesn’t seem to have a visible cause.
Unexplained, chronic pain known as fibromyalgia affects up to 5% of the population. Yet there are no effective treatment options for the millions for whom each day begins with persistent pain.
Fear and tension make the pain much worse.
Pain during labour and birth is a complex combination of physical and psychological factors.
What type of painkiller matches my pain?
When you’re in pain, it’s hard to think about anything else. In many cases, it won’t go away until you take something for it, but how do you know what type and strength to take?
How we experience pain depends on how we were brought up, and the cultures we live in.
People in pain are subject to the ways their cultures have trained them to experience and express pain.
More women suffer pain from almost all afflictions, and we still don’t understand why.
More women than men suffer from chronic pain, that is, pain that persists for more than six months. In addition, much of this pain remains undiagnosed or untreated.
Certain words or phrases doctors use to describe pain can make it better or worse.
Listen carefully to the language that surrounds people with pain. Listen to how you talk about them. Are you increasing their disability by using well-intentioned pain cliches?
It’s not just the extent of the injury, but also social factors such as education levels that affect pain levels and duration.
“Psychosocial” factors such as education levels affect how much pain you will experience.
If you do everything for your partner with chronic pain they’re less likely to be able to do it themselves.
A significant decider of why some manage with chronic pain and some are disabled is the way their partners respond to them.
Chronic pain is a complex health issue.
Pain management is one of the most neglected aspects of health care; our failure to adequately address chronic pain is a major driver of its economic and social burden.
Pain doesn’t originate at the site as most think, it’s created by the brain so we protect the area that’s in danger.
Pain scientists are reasonably agreed that pain is an unpleasant feeling in our body that makes us want to stop and change our behaviour.