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 27 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 time! I will describe it nicely for you. First cell says: new study published. Second cell: does it confirm my beliefs? If yes… must be a GOOD study. If no… must be a BAD study, so nitpick and find flaws, bad study confirmed! And then both pathways then ultimately lead to the inevitable conclusion: “I was right all along!”s width=

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. Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation
  2. Nerves are more abundant than blood vessels in the degenerate human intervertebral disc
  3. Relationship between herniated intervertebral disc fragment weight and pain in lumbar microdiscectomy patients
  4. Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations
  5. Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study
  6. 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
  7. Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations?
  8. Effect of statin therapy on muscle symptoms: an individual participant data meta-analysis of large-scale, randomised, double-blind trials
  9. Intimate Partner Violence During Recovery from an Orthopaedic Injury: An Exploratory, Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Cohort Study
  10. '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
  11. A failure to replicate the extraordinary result: lasting effect of open-label placebo
  12. A negative trial of exercise for knee arthritis, with clever use of saline injection as a sham
  13. The classic 1977 paper by Engel that introduced the now famous biopsychosocial model of healthcare
  14. Association between Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Lower-Limb Functional Performance and Sport Injury: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies
  15. The Effects of Cold Exposure Training and a Breathing Exercise on the Inflammatory Response in Humans: A Pilot Study
  16. Big Suppla: Challenging the Common View of the Supplements and Herbs Industry Affects the Willingness to Try and Recommend Their Products
  17. Spinal degeneration found on MRI not linked to the severity of future back pain
  18. 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
  19. Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study
  20. Comparison of neck vertebrae in patients with and without “cervicogenic” headache
  21. Relationship between pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and self-efficacy in patients with frozen shoulder: a cross-sectional study
  22. Can you forget pain?
  23. How effective is an evidence-based exercise intervention in individuals with patellofemoral pain?
  24. Laser therapy no better for back pain than weak red light
  25. A prototype closed-loop brain-machine interface for the study and treatment of pain
  26. Creatine for osteoarthritis has no effect
  27. Massaging the outcome: an unusual presentation of pulmonary embolism
  28. Leg massage during pregnancy with unrecognized deep vein thrombosis could be life threatening: a case report
  29. A noteworthy new trial of CBD for acute back pain
  30. Motor skill training for back pain slightly better than stretching/strengthening
  31. Does computer use affect the incidence of distal arm pain? A one-year prospective study using objective measures of computer use
  32. Dry Needling Adds No Benefit to the Treatment of Neck Pain: A Sham-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial With 1-Year Follow-up
  33. Association of Therapies With Reduced Pain and Improved Quality of Life in Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  34. Sleep loss may reduce vaccination efficacy
  35. Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects
  36. Psychotherapy for pain (mostly CBT) damned with faint praise
  37. A garbage-in-garbage-out review of topical nitroglycerin for tendinopathy
  38. Study: Medial gastrocnemius stiffness linked to plantar fasciitis with elastography
  39. Study: Plantar fasciitis strongly linked to tight calf muscles
  40. Do Niggles Matter? - Increased injury risk following physical complaints in football (soccer)
  41. No Added Benefit of Combining Dry Needling With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy When Managing Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  42. Carbon-14 bomb pulse dating shows that tendinopathy is preceded by years of abnormally high collagen turnover
  43. Running ground reaction forces across footwear conditions are predicted from the motion of two body mass components
  44. Short-term resistance exercise inhibits neuroinflammation and attenuates neuropathological changes in 3xTg Alzheimer's disease mice
  45. The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex—linking immunity and metabolism
  46. Borrelia burgdorferi peptidoglycan is a persistent antigen in patients with Lyme arthritis
  47. Exercise probably helps anxiety, but it remains unproven
  48. Seventy-six genes linked to multisite chronic pain
  49. Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial
  50. Noninvasively measuring the hemodynamic effects of massage on skeletal muscle: a novel hybrid near-infrared diffuse optical instrument
  51. Benefits and harms of spinal manipulative therapy for the treatment of chronic low back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
  52. The incidence of plantar fasciitis in the United States military
  53. What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like?
  54. Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance
  55. A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power
  56. The clinical course of low back pain: a meta-analysis comparing outcomes in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies
  57. Comparative Effectiveness of Conservative Interventions for Nonspecific Chronic Spinal Pain: Physical, Behavioral/Psychologically Informed, or Combined? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  58. The neck and headaches
  59. Kinetic risk factors of running-related injuries in female recreational runners
  60. Determining the contribution of active stiffness to reduced range of motion in frozen shoulder
  61. Better than what? Comparisons in low back pain clinical trials
  62. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
  63. No link between “text neck” posture and neck pain in 150 Brazilian young adults
  64. Can we identify types of back pain patients that respond better to treatments?
  65. Increased pain from muscle fascia following eccentric exercise: animal and human findings
  66. Effect of stretching on thoracolumbar fascia injury and movement restriction in a porcine model
  67. The effect of heat on skin permeability
  68. Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in US middle-aged and older adults: a national cohort study
  69. Clenching leg muscles reduces pain sensitivity everywhere
  70. Root compression on MRI compared with clinical findings in patients with recent onset cervical radiculopathy
  71. Knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid-20th century
  72. Clinical precision of myofascial trigger point location in the trapezius muscle
  73. Effectiveness of a home program of ischemic pressure followed by sustained stretch for treatment of myofascial trigger points
  74. Spinal manipulative therapy-specific changes in pain sensitivity in individuals with low back pain
  75. Resistance training linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, independently of aerobic exercise
  76. Effectiveness of calf muscle stretching for the short-term treatment of plantar heel pain: a randomised trial
  77. Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting
  78. Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  79. No, “stretching“ did not work for nurses with back pain
  80. Prognostic value of magnetic resonance imaging findings in patients with sciatica
  81. Longitudinal associations between incident lumbar spine MRI findings and chronic low back pain or radicular symptoms: retrospective analysis of data from the longitudinal assessment of imaging and disability of the back (LAIDBACK)
  82. Is 'plantar heel pain' a more appropriate term than 'plantar fasciitis'? Time to move on
  83. Thicker, juicier spinal discs in slow runners & fast walkers
  84. Spinal manipulation effects on acute back pain range from negative to minor
  85. At least half of herniated discs spontaneously de-herniate
  86. More evidence that IT band stretching is futile
  87. Interaction of leg stiffness and surfaces stiffness during human hopping
  88. Surface effects on in-shoe plantar pressure and tibial impact during running
  89. Diazepam Is No Better Than Placebo When Added to Naproxen for Acute Low Back Pain
  90. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data
  91. Only a history of neck pain and being a woman are likely risk factors for neck pain

Articles about science, research, and citing

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