PainScience.com • Good advice for aches, pains & injuries

What works for stubborn aches, pains, and injuries?

And what doesn’t work, and why? PainScience.com reviews your treatment options for many common painful problems, and explains the nature of the pain beast with hundreds of articles and several particularly huge self-help guides. The site is written mainly for patients, but it’s also heavily referenced for health care pros. And I serve up the science of pain, injury, and rehab with a little sass — I try to have fun taking the subject seriously. Read more about PainScience.com.

Paul Ingraham, PainScience publisher

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  • Anatomical diagram of the knee showing the location of IT band syndrome pain on the side of the knee.

    What kind of runner’s knee?

    IT band syndrome dominates the side of the knee. Patellofemoral pain is more variable, but usually more in front.

  • Photograph of a plain white bottle with the word “hope” on it, representing placebo.

    Placebo power hype

    Placebo is fascinating, but its “power” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There is, however, an awful lot of ideologically motivated hype about placebo!

  • Stylized sign showing a man stooping to lift a box, with red text superimposed on it reading “alarmist nonsense.”

    Don’t Worry About Lifting Technique

    The importance of “lift with your legs, not your back” to prevent back pain has been exaggerated!

  • Picture of hot coals.

    Feel like you’re on fire?

    A little bit of inflammation spread all over the place is one possible culprit in chronic pain.

  • Anatomical diagram of the thoracolumber fascia.

    Does fascia matter?

    Supposedly fascia can get tight & needs to be “released,” but key examples of research either fail to support fascial therapy or even undermine it. Is it just a fad?

  • Drawing a thumb pressure down on a myofascial trigger point.

    Are trigger points for real?

    The cause of sore spots in muscles is mysterious & controversial. Are muscle “knots” basically micro-cramps? Delve into the science.

What hurts? Common painful problems and injuries

The main painful topics on PainScience are stubborn problems like trigger points (poorly named, but incredibly common, and often confused with muscle strain), low back pain (of course), common overuse injuries like iliotibial band syndrome, and stranger musculoskeletal glitches like frozen shoulder. Plus dozens more!
index of specific painful conditions

And what works? Pain treatments

Review of treatment methods (with plenty of debunking) is a major theme on PainScience.com: popular DIY options like self-massage, strength training, ice or heat, or the bizarrely controversial Epsom salts. I also review major therapy methods like massage or chiropractic, and gadgets like ultrasound and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
index of treatment & therapy reviews
master list of self-help tips for pain

Drawing of a knob representing pain intensity, dialed up to 11.

Yes, but why does it hurt? The nature of the beast

Pain “demands an explanation,” wrote poet Ann Carson, but pain is weird. It can be a huge help to understand things like the types of pain, or how insomnia makes pain so much worse, or the role of chronic low-grade inflammation. On the other hand, there are also many over-rated causes of pain like misalignment and poor posture.
index of articles about how pain works

The microblog: pain science news & nuggets

I never stop updating and improving PainScience.com articles and books, hundreds of them, but also blog as I work. The blog is basically the “highlights” section of the site: mostly short posts about the niftiest ideas I’ve come across.

Recent site updates

A steady stream of content improvements and corrections are all logged, like on Wikipedia:

You’ve got a lot of reading to do! Sorry it’s all here on the computer …

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