The Pain & Therapy Bibliography
A unique database of scientific sources about musculoskeletal pain, injury & treatment, constantly updated & annotated since 1997
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 23 years now. It’s big — about 2800 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 PainScience.com, in the footnotes mostly,1 but there is no master table of contents for it. There is a list of the most recent entries below, and the 100 greatest hits — the best and most interesting science. You can also find bibliography pages with a site search (use the Google search box at the top of the page).
About footnotes & citation style
A robust bibliography and “good footnotes” still set PainScience apart in modern online publishing.2 It’s still rare to see effective footnoting on websites.3 I have invested heavily over the years in doing it right.
I first put PainScience.com 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,4 the standard used by most medical journals, along with a bunch of other upgrades — a massive project.5
All of this is extraordinary for a private educational site — unique, in fact. I take referencing really seriously!
Recent highlights to the bibliography
Items added in the last 100 days with a summary of more than 100 words.
- Gerhart JI, Burns JW, Post KM, et al. Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Ann Behav Med. 2017 Jun;51(3):365–375. PubMed #27844327 ❐ PainSci #51845 ❐ Added Aug 29.
- Brown AM, Zifchock RA, Lenhoff M, Song J, Hillstrom HJ. Hip muscle response to a fatiguing run in females with iliotibial band syndrome. Hum Mov Sci. 2019 Apr;64:181–190. PubMed #30743163 ❐ Added Aug 20.
- Challoumas D, Kirwan PD, Borysov D, et al. Topical glyceryl trinitrate for the treatment of tendinopathies: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2019 Feb;53(4):251–262. PubMed #30301735 ❐ PainSci #51890 ❐ Added Aug 13.
- Zhou JP, Yu JF, Feng YN, et al. Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Sci Rep. 2020 02;10(1):2770. PubMed #32066869 ❐ PainSci #51889 ❐ Added Aug 9.
- Nakale NT, Strydom A, Saragas NP, Ferrao PN. Association Between Plantar Fasciitis and Isolated Gastrocnemius Tightness. Foot Ankle Int. 2018 03;39(3):271–277. PubMed #29198141 ❐ Added Aug 8.
- Matthew Whalan, Ric Lovell, John A Sampson. Do Niggles Matter? - Increased injury risk following physical complaints in football (soccer). Science and Medicine in Football. 2020;4(3):216–224. PainSci #51897 ❐ Added Aug 4.
- Nitter AK, Pripp AH, Forseth KØ. Are sleep problems and non-specific health complaints risk factors for chronic pain? A prospective population-based study with 17 year follow-up. Scand J Pain. 2012 Oct;3(4):210–217. PubMed #29913872 ❐ Added Jun 29.
100 bibliography highlights
What’s here? 100 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.
- A critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon
- Spinal manipulation no better for back pain than placebos
- Central sensitization
- Functional Movement Screen unreliable
- Adverse events and cervical manipulation for neck pain
- Promising trial of cognitive functional therapy for low back pain
- Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage
- Forefoot runners have fewer injuries, but causality unclear
- Neck strength can reduce chronic neck pain long-term
- Regular Swedish versus “tensegrity-based” massage
- Location of back and neck pain could not be detected by feel
- More than 20% of manual therapy treatments do some harm
- Cellular response to simulated myofascial release
- Worn out shoes do change the biomechanics of running, but not much
- Small, flawed trial of foam rolling shows 8% ROM increase
- Comparison of 2 types of massage for chronic low back pain
- Trial of therapeutic massage for neck pain
- Brief, intense muscular training for cardiovascular fitness
- Patellar maltracking in patellofemoral pain with patella alta
- Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
- Curcumin “likely” reduces muscle soreness after exercise
- Thigh and hip exercises effective for patellofemoral pain
- Increased trapezius pain sensitivity is not associated with increased tissue hardness
- Regular hamstring stretching increased range of motion
- The greatest hits of back pain science are a disappointment
- Massage therapy probably helps patients with bone cancer
- Flexibility gains due to changes in sensation, not muscle length
- Safe but useless for knee arthritis: glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, and celecoxib
- The iliotibial band is uniformly, firmly attached to the femur
- Intense, brief workouts almost as effective as time-consuming cardio
- Trial of glucosamine for low back pain finds no therapeutic effect
- Nerve root impingement fairly rare, barely more common in car accident victims
- A fascinating landmark study of placebo surgery for knee osteoarthritis
- The hazards of NSAIDs, especially diclofenac
- Massage vs minimal exercise for poor circulation
- Education, not core exercise, reduces back pain incidence in soldiers
- Trigger points are acidic and contain pain-causing metabolites
- 8 weeks of core strengthening, coordination exercise for chronic low back pain
- Do strong quadriceps help patellofemoral pain?
- Surprisingly effective back pain injection: intradiscal methylene blue
- Quality of online sports medicine information “highly variable”
- Only quantity of exercise for back pain produces better results
- Failed trial of vertebroplasty for compression fractures
- Deyo and Weinstein’s 2001 low back pain tutorial
- Disappointing first trial of surgery for tennis elbow
- Regular, moderate exercise boosts makes neutrophils busier for longer
- Yoga, stretching equally and slightly effective for back pain
- Stress fractures: it’s not how hard you hit the ground, but how fast you hit it
- Intravascular danger signals guide neutrophils to sites of sterile inflammation
- Current evidence does not support Botox for trigger points
- Online tutorials for chronic pain reduced pain, anxiety, disability
- Prebiotics reduces waking cortisol response
- Functional implications of the Q-angle in the patellofemoral joint
- Botox for trigger points, update
- Strong criticism of “more is better” strength training
- Chiropractic subluxation is still “unsupported speculation”
- Special core strengthening prevents no more injuries than ordinary sit-ups
- Both heat and cold for back and neck strain mildly beneficial
- Massage impairs post exercise muscle blood flow and lactic acid removal
- General practitioners do not follow guidelines for low back pain care
- A review of low quality evidence about exercise for neck pain
- Chiropractic identity, role and future: survey
- Is hip strength a risk factor for patellofemoral pain?
- Regular physical activity prevents chronic pain
- Stretching and heart rate variability in inflexible subjects
- Smoking associated with low back pain, intervertebral disc disease
- Cramps caused by effort, not dehydration and electrolyte shortage
- Recent injury had no effect on FMS scores
- Asymmetry of psoas and quadratus lumborum unrelated to injury
- No clear benefit to muscle relaxants for acute neck strain
- The science of trigger point diagnosis is a confusing mess so far
- Myoglobin in plasma after trigger point massage
- Cherries for soreness? Well, weakness at least
- What causes the burn in intense muscle effort?
- Dry needling for myofascial pain, review
- A disturbing and typical example of sloppy modern acupuncture research
- Promising results from athroscopic surgery for IT band syndrome
- Does long-distance running lead to cartilage damage? An MRI study
- Underwhelming: spinal adjustment and massage for back pain, neck pain
- The effect of leg length on back pain: a classic test
- Is exercise effective, or just efficacious?
- Lumbosacral transition vertebra prevalence, significance
- The Conundrum of Calcaneal Spurs
- A major, comprehensive report on treatments for knee arthritis
- Magnetic resonance imaging in follow-up assessment of sciatica
- Minor benefits of pilates for chronic low back pain
- Tuning fork, ultrasound diagnosis of stress fractures is unreliable
- Hamstring flexibility cannot predict lumbar joint use in reaching
- Women adapt effectively and minimally to wearing high heels
- Acupuncture for back pain, a poor quality trial
- Can trigger point therapy improve restricted ankle joint motion?
- Review: patients are “highly satisfied” with physical therapy
- Extremely thorough, valuable review of studies of back pain treatments
- Stretching, strengthening don’t affect knee and shin injury rates in soldiers in basic training
- Exercise reduces anterior knee pain risk
- Prospective Predictors of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries
- Icing delays recovery from muscle soreness
- Deep friction massage to treat tendinopathy: still no evidence
- Fascia is too tough for mechanical deformation
Articles about science, research, and citing