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 huge self-help guides. The site is written mainly for patients, but it’s also heavily referenced and offers extensive popup notes 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
Why the salamander? More mascot than logo, the salamander’s astonishing regenerative biology is a symbol of healing. More.
IT band syndrome dominates the side of the knee. Patellofemoral pain is more variable, but usually more in front.
My stretching article has been popular for more than a decade now & it’s one of the best examples of what this website is all about: thorough, sassy critical analysis & tipping over sacred cows with facts n stuff.
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.
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!
A compilation of more than 50 examples of the bizarre nonsense spoken by massage therapists with delusions of medical knowledge.
Controversy, stigma & quackery swirl around fibromyalgia like a bad smell. Here’s a rational guide to the mysterious disease of pain, exhaustion & mental fog.
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!
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).
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.
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.
- Mar 6: Defensive medicine and MRI for back pain
- Mar 6: The taping of Methai the elephant
- Feb 26: The speed of lies and truth, mistakes and retractions
- Feb 22: Can COVID be a pain-killer?
- Feb 8: Massage for the win: a happy (but weird) personal anecdote
- + 909 more posts …
Recent site updates
A steady stream of content improvements and corrections are all logged, like on Wikipedia:
- Mar 4: delayed-onset muscle soreness +Added a fun image of Anti-Stiff, an old-timey snake oil for muscle soreness (good historical perspective, too). Added discussion of worst case scenarios, especially rhabdomyolysis, and DOMS that's out of proportion to overexertion. Added examples of pathological vulnerability to DOMS, and some speculation about mechanism (neuroinflammation).
Post-Exercise, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
- Feb 26: taping +Major upgrade, a complete reboot of the article: more of everything, especially citations. Previously it was just a brief “position statement” on the topic, now it’s a full-fledged critical analysis. The bottom line is still the same: skeptical. The biggest single change is the strong emphasis on the interesting fact that therapeutic taping was a chiropractor’s invention from back in the 1970s, and a relatively obscure one until the 2012 Olympics, not a staple of physical therapy and rehab. This really helps make the important point that therapeutic taping is more about marketing than medicine.
Therapy Tape Review
- Feb 23: Voltaren +Major additions, more than a thousand words on “other topical pain-killers: from literal snake oil to the perfectly cromulent salicylates.”
Voltaren® Gel Review and Usage Guide
- Feb 17: chiropractic +Transplated and updated information about chiropractic’s legal battles from a separate page. Also, the whole article got a proofreading for the first time in quite a while, correcting a few minor errors.
The Chiropractic Controversies
- Feb 16: stretching +Re-expansion — In mid-2020 the article was split up into four separate articles as an experiment. That experiment failed; I decided that it’s better as one mighty article, and restored it to its original state. Technically there’s no new content, but this page is nevertheless “like new” — it has never been this comprehensive before.
Quite a Stretch
- + many more
You’ve got a lot of reading to do! Sorry it’s all here on the computer …
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