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 25 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 PainScience.com, 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 #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).
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 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,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 items added with a summary of more than 120 words.
- Effect of statin therapy on muscle symptoms: an individual participant data meta-analysis of large-scale, randomised, double-blind trials. Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration et al., 2022, Lancet. » added Sep 2022
- Intimate Partner Violence During Recovery from an Orthopaedic Injury: An Exploratory, Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Cohort Study. Madden et al., 2022, J Bone Joint Surg Am. » added Aug 2022
- '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. Silva et al., 2022, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. » added Aug 2022
- 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. Kleine-Borgmann et al., 2022, Pain. » added Aug 2022
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak et al., 2022, Ann Rheum Dis. » added Jul 2022
- Association between Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Lower-Limb Functional Performance and Sport Injury: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies. Guan et al., 2022, J Clin Med. » added May 2022
- Big Suppla: Challenging the Common View of the Supplements and Herbs Industry Affects the Willingness to Try and Recommend Their Products. Mijatović et al., 2022, Studia Psychologica. » added Mar 2022
- Postmenopausal spinal osteoporosis: flexion versus extension exercises. Sinaki et al., 1984, Arch Phys Med Rehabil. » added Mar 2022
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch et al., 2022, Spine (Phila Pa 1976). » added Mar 2022
- Orienting in a defensive world: mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A Polyvagal Theory. Porges et al., 1995, Psychophysiology. » added Mar 2022
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
- 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
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