Detailed, science-based help for stubborn injuries & chronic pain

What works for stubborn aches, pains, and injuries?

And what doesn’t work, and why? thoroughly reviews the imperfect treatment options for many common painful problems in a library of deep-dive articles and several particularly huge self-help guides. The site is written for patients, but it’s also heavily referenced for health care pros. 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

~ Paul Ingraham, PainScience publisher
Vancouver, Canada

Why the salamander? More mascot than logo, the salamander’s astonishing regenerative biology is a symbol of healing. More.

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  • 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.

  • Drawing a volume knob labelled “pain” turned up to 11


    Controversy, stigma & quackery swirl around fibromyalgia like a bad smell. Here’s a rational guide to the mysterious disease of pain, exhaustion & mental fog.

  • Is vitamin D a pain killer?

    Walk down a busy street in Canada, Russia, or northern Europe & you’ll pass someone with vitamin D deficiency every few seconds. And they may be in pain, too.

  • 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.

  • A cartoon talk bubble filled with trendy nonsense jargon from at least med like “quantum” and “detoxification,” superimposed with the poop emoji.

    Sh*t massage therapists say!

    A compilation of more than 50 examples of the bizarre nonsense spoken by massage therapists with delusions of medical knowledge.

  • 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!

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 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

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

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

The microblog: pain science news & nuggets

I never stop updating and improving 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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