Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

The Pain & Therapy Bibliography

A unique database of scientific sources about musculoskeletal pain, injury & treatment, constantly updated & annotated since 1997

Photo of an extremely bright, sunny library with bookshelves receding into the distance and disappearing into blazing sunshine. In the center of the light, there is a barely visible silhouette of a salamander.

Some people collect stamps; I collect science about painful musculoskeletal problems (with a smattering of important items from other areas of pain science). I have been building this database for about 26 years now. It’s big — about 3300 scientific papers, and another thousand other items like books, webpages, etc. — but it does not pretend to be comprehensive (there are huge institutional databases for that, especially the Physiotherapy Evidence Database).

What makes this bibliography valuable is that its contents were hand-picked, every record chosen for a reason, and many hundreds of them are also described and “translated,” their significance emphasized, with links to related articles. I favour sources with an interesting angle: surprising results, odd methods, profound implications, and so on.

In short, it has depth and character.

So where is it?

All around you! The bibliography is everywhere on, in the footnotes mostly,1Like so:

Woolf CJ. Central sensitization: Implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pain. Pain. 2010 Oct;152(2 Suppl):S2–15. PubMed 20961685 ❐ PainSci Bibliography 54851 ❐
but there is no master table of contents for it. See below for lists of the most recent entries below and Greatest Hits. Thousands of individual entires will also bibliography pages with a site search (use the search box at the top of the home page).

Flow chart: first cell, new study published. Second, does it confirm my beliefs? If yes, must be a good study. If no, must be a bad study, nitpick and find flaws, bad study confirmed. Both pathways lead to the conclusion: I was right all along!

Anyone can cite studies that seem to support their position … or dismiss ones that seem to undermine it. There is plenty of ‘art’ involved in the wise analysis & interpretation of research.

About footnotes & citation style

A robust bibliography and “good footnotes” still set PainScience apart in modern online publishing.2My footnotes contain either extra commentary and whimsical asides, or citations to science and other sources. It’s still rare to see effective footnoting on websites.3It’s a gnarly technology and design problem. Bibliographic data and citation formats do not play nicely with modern publishing technology. There’s lots of software for wrangling references on your PC, but it’s still almost impossible to integrate them (efficiently) into blogs and websites. It still has to mostly be done “manually”… and so it mostly doesn’t get done. I have invested heavily over the years in doing it right.

I first put on a firm bibliographic foundation in 2007 — a “footnotes first” content management system based on the fairly exotic BibTeX data format, a huge custom programming job. In 2015, I converted my referencing format to the Vancouver system,4In 1978, editors of medical journals from around the world met here — probably close to where I live — and thrashed out a new standard. It was so difficult and tedious that they named it after the city they were trapped in. Their work is still the standard today, and it is heavily documented. the standard used by most medical journals, along with a bunch of other upgrades — a massive project.5I had to re-tool the footnote factory & re-train all the bibliography gnomes. Weirdly, I felt much more comfortable diving into this Sysyphean chore simply because the new standard was named after where I live. Every footnote is lovingly crafted by software — essential for mass production. I had to reprogram that software to speak “Vancouver style.” Read more.

All of this is extraordinary for a private educational site — unique, in fact. I take referencing really seriously!

Recent bibliography highlights

The last 10 papers added to the bibliography … with a decent summary. (Not every paper gets a summary!)

All-time bibliography highlights

What’s here? Several dozen of the best and most interesting are listed here — the quirkiest, the best news, the worst news, the most compelling. The greatest hits of pain science.

  1. Injury prevention effects of stretching exercise intervention by physical therapists in male high school soccer players
  2. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial
  3. Effect of statin therapy on muscle symptoms: an individual participant data meta-analysis of large-scale, randomised, double-blind trials
  4. Intimate Partner Violence During Recovery from an Orthopaedic Injury: An Exploratory, Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Cohort Study
  5. 'Myths and facts' education is comparable to 'facts only' for recall of back pain information but may improve fear-avoidance beliefs: an embedded randomized trial
  6. No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial
  7. A negative trial of exercise for knee arthritis, with clever use of saline injection as a sham
  8. The classic 1977 paper by Engel that introduced the now famous biopsychosocial model of healthcare
  9. Association between Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Lower-Limb Functional Performance and Sport Injury: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies
  10. Big Suppla: Challenging the Common View of the Supplements and Herbs Industry Affects the Willingness to Try and Recommend Their Products
  11. Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study
  12. Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis
  13. A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component
  14. Magnesium as an Alternative or Adjunct to Opioids for Migraine and Chronic Pain: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines
  15. Relationship between Magnesium Intake and Chronic Pain in U.S. Adults
  16. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: evidence for a recommended dietary allowance
  17. Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study
  18. Comparison of neck vertebrae in patients with and without “cervicogenic” headache
  19. Study: acetaminophen may harm fetuses
  20. Relationship between pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and self-efficacy in patients with frozen shoulder: a cross-sectional study
  21. Can you forget pain?
  22. How effective is an evidence-based exercise intervention in individuals with patellofemoral pain?
  23. Laser therapy no better for back pain than weak red light
  24. A prototype closed-loop brain-machine interface for the study and treatment of pain
  25. Differences in Knee and Hip Adduction and Hip Muscle Activation in Runners With and Without Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  26. Aromatherapy review is technically inconclusive but the evidence is not promising
  27. No effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in individuals with knee osteoarthritis
  28. Massaging the outcome: an unusual presentation of pulmonary embolism
  29. Leg massage during pregnancy with unrecognized deep vein thrombosis could be life threatening: a case report
  30. A noteworthy new trial of CBD for acute back pain
  31. Motor skill training for back pain slightly better than stretching/strengthening
  32. Does computer use affect the incidence of distal arm pain? A one-year prospective study using objective measures of computer use
  33. Dry Needling Adds No Benefit to the Treatment of Neck Pain: A Sham-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial With 1-Year Follow-up
  34. Association of Therapies With Reduced Pain and Improved Quality of Life in Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  35. Sleep loss may reduce vaccination efficacy
  36. Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects
  37. Hip muscle response to a fatiguing run in females with iliotibial band syndrome
  38. Psychotherapy for pain (mostly CBT) damned with faint praise
  39. A garbage-in-garbage-out review of topical nitroglycerin for tendinopathy
  40. Study: Medial gastrocnemius stiffness linked to plantar fasciitis with elastography
  41. Study: Plantar fasciitis strongly linked to tight calf muscles
  42. Do Niggles Matter? - Increased injury risk following physical complaints in football (soccer)
  43. The influence of kinesiology tape colour on performance and corticomotor activity in healthy adults: a randomised crossover controlled trial
  44. No Added Benefit of Combining Dry Needling With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy When Managing Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  45. Carbon-14 bomb pulse dating shows that tendinopathy is preceded by years of abnormally high collagen turnover
  46. No evidence linking injuries to a dysfunctional tensor fascia latae muscle
  47. Running ground reaction forces across footwear conditions are predicted from the motion of two body mass components
  48. Short-term resistance exercise inhibits neuroinflammation and attenuates neuropathological changes in 3xTg Alzheimer's disease mice
  49. Laceration of the transverse mesocolon in an old man with a habit of abdominal massage for constipation: a case report
  50. Skeletal Muscles Do Not Undergo Apoptosis During Either Atrophy or Programmed Cell Death-Revisiting the Myonuclear Domain Hypothesis
  51. The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex—linking immunity and metabolism
  52. The nature of neck pain in a private pain clinic in the United States
  53. Blended-Learning Pain Neuroscience Education for People With Chronic Spinal Pain: Randomized Controlled Multicenter Trial
  54. A questionnaire survey of muscular symptoms in chronic headache. An age- and sex-controlled study
  55. Borrelia burgdorferi peptidoglycan is a persistent antigen in patients with Lyme arthritis
  56. Glucose enhances aggrecan expression in chondrocytes via the PKCα/p38-miR141-3p signaling pathway
  57. Exercise probably helps anxiety, but it remains unproven
  58. Seventy-six genes linked to multisite chronic pain
  59. A functional substitution in the L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme worsens somatic symptoms via a serotonergic pathway
  60. Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial
  61. Noninvasively measuring the hemodynamic effects of massage on skeletal muscle: a novel hybrid near-infrared diffuse optical instrument
  62. Benefits and harms of spinal manipulative therapy for the treatment of chronic low back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
  63. The incidence of plantar fasciitis in the United States military
  64. What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like?
  65. Role of platelet-rich plasma in articular cartilage injury and disease
  66. Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance
  67. A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power
  68. The clinical course of low back pain: a meta-analysis comparing outcomes in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies
  69. Comparative Effectiveness of Conservative Interventions for Nonspecific Chronic Spinal Pain: Physical, Behavioral/Psychologically Informed, or Combined? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  70. Mechanical deformation of posterior thoracolumbar fascia after myofascial release in healthy men: A study of dynamic ultrasound imaging
  71. Myofascial trigger points in migraine and tension-type headache
  72. The neck and headaches
  73. The most active people twice as likely to “age successfully”
  74. Kinetic risk factors of running-related injuries in female recreational runners
  75. The Effect of Different Exercise Programs on Size and Function of Deep Cervical Flexor Muscles in Patients With Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
  76. Determining the contribution of active stiffness to reduced range of motion in frozen shoulder
  77. Better than what? Comparisons in low back pain clinical trials
  78. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
  79. Impact of stretching on the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners
  80. Lack of tissue renewal in human adult Achilles tendon is revealed by nuclear bomb (14)C
  81. No link between “text neck” posture and neck pain in 150 Brazilian young adults
  82. The effectiveness of a neck and shoulder stretching exercise program among office workers with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial
  83. Can we identify types of back pain patients that respond better to treatments?
  84. Rehabilitation of hamstring muscle injuries: a literature review
  85. The relationship between latent trigger point and muscle strength in healthy subjects: a double-blind study
  86. Increased pain from muscle fascia following eccentric exercise: animal and human findings
  87. Effect of stretching on thoracolumbar fascia injury and movement restriction in a porcine model
  88. The effect of heat on skin permeability
  89. Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in US middle-aged and older adults: a national cohort study
  90. Clenching leg muscles reduces pain sensitivity everywhere
  91. Root compression on MRI compared with clinical findings in patients with recent onset cervical radiculopathy

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