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 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 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 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).
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 papers added to the bibliography … with a decent summary. (Not every paper gets a summary!)
- Large Buttocks Hematoma Caused by Deep Tissue Massage Therapy. Sun et al., 2015, Pain Med. » added Feb 2024
- Effects of two gait retraining programs on pain, function, and lower limb kinematics in runners with patellofemoral pain: A randomized controlled trial. Júnior et al., 2024, PLoS One. » added Feb 2024
- Patients and clinicians managing patellofemoral pain should not rely on general web-based information. Silva et al., 2020, Phys Ther Sport. » added Nov 2023
- Inflammation-induced mitochondrial and metabolic disturbances in sensory neurons control the switch from acute to chronic pain. Willemen et al., 2023, Cell Rep Med. » added Nov 2023
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore et al., 2023, J Pain. » added Oct 2023
- Proinflammatory Dietary Intake Relates to Pain Sensitivity in Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Case-Control Study. Elma et al., 2023, J Pain. » added Oct 2023
- C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with chronic pain independently of biopsychosocial factors. Farrell et al., 2023, J Pain. » added Oct 2023
- Total daily energy expenditure has declined over the past three decades due to declining basal expenditure, not reduced activity expenditure. Speakman et al., 2023, Nat Metab. » added Aug 2023
- Attitudinal responses to current concepts and opinions from pain neuroscience education on social media. Weisman et al., 2022, Musculoskelet Sci Pract. » added Jun 2023
- Can Exercise Positively Influence the Intervertebral Disc? Belavý et al., 2016, Sports Med. » added Mar 2023
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.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation
- Nerves are more abundant than blood vessels in the degenerate human intervertebral disc
- Relationship between herniated intervertebral disc fragment weight and pain in lumbar microdiscectomy patients
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study
- 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
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations?
- Effect of statin therapy on muscle symptoms: an individual participant data meta-analysis of large-scale, randomised, double-blind trials
- Intimate Partner Violence During Recovery from an Orthopaedic Injury: An Exploratory, Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Cohort Study
- '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
- A failure to replicate the extraordinary result: lasting effect of open-label placebo
- A negative trial of exercise for knee arthritis, with clever use of saline injection as a sham
- The classic 1977 paper by Engel that introduced the now famous biopsychosocial model of healthcare
- Association between Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Lower-Limb Functional Performance and Sport Injury: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies
- The Effects of Cold Exposure Training and a Breathing Exercise on the Inflammatory Response in Humans: A Pilot Study
- Big Suppla: Challenging the Common View of the Supplements and Herbs Industry Affects the Willingness to Try and Recommend Their Products
- Spinal degeneration found on MRI not linked to the severity of future back pain
- 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
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study
- Comparison of neck vertebrae in patients with and without “cervicogenic” headache
- Relationship between pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and self-efficacy in patients with frozen shoulder: a cross-sectional study
- Can you forget pain?
- How effective is an evidence-based exercise intervention in individuals with patellofemoral pain?
- Laser therapy no better for back pain than weak red light
- A prototype closed-loop brain-machine interface for the study and treatment of pain
- Creatine for osteoarthritis has no effect
- Massaging the outcome: an unusual presentation of pulmonary embolism
- Leg massage during pregnancy with unrecognized deep vein thrombosis could be life threatening: a case report
- A noteworthy new trial of CBD for acute back pain
- Motor skill training for back pain slightly better than stretching/strengthening
- Does computer use affect the incidence of distal arm pain? A one-year prospective study using objective measures of computer use
- Dry Needling Adds No Benefit to the Treatment of Neck Pain: A Sham-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial With 1-Year Follow-up
- Association of Therapies With Reduced Pain and Improved Quality of Life in Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
- Sleep loss may reduce vaccination efficacy
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects
- Psychotherapy for pain (mostly CBT) damned with faint praise
- A garbage-in-garbage-out review of topical nitroglycerin for tendinopathy
- Study: Medial gastrocnemius stiffness linked to plantar fasciitis with elastography
- Study: Plantar fasciitis strongly linked to tight calf muscles
- Do Niggles Matter? - Increased injury risk following physical complaints in football (soccer)
- No Added Benefit of Combining Dry Needling With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy When Managing Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- Carbon-14 bomb pulse dating shows that tendinopathy is preceded by years of abnormally high collagen turnover
- Running ground reaction forces across footwear conditions are predicted from the motion of two body mass components
- Short-term resistance exercise inhibits neuroinflammation and attenuates neuropathological changes in 3xTg Alzheimer's disease mice
- The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex—linking immunity and metabolism
- Borrelia burgdorferi peptidoglycan is a persistent antigen in patients with Lyme arthritis
- Exercise probably helps anxiety, but it remains unproven
- Seventy-six genes linked to multisite chronic pain
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial
- Noninvasively measuring the hemodynamic effects of massage on skeletal muscle: a novel hybrid near-infrared diffuse optical instrument
- Benefits and harms of spinal manipulative therapy for the treatment of chronic low back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
- The incidence of plantar fasciitis in the United States military
- What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like?
- Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power
- The clinical course of low back pain: a meta-analysis comparing outcomes in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) and observational studies
- Comparative Effectiveness of Conservative Interventions for Nonspecific Chronic Spinal Pain: Physical, Behavioral/Psychologically Informed, or Combined? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- The neck and headaches
- Kinetic risk factors of running-related injuries in female recreational runners
- Determining the contribution of active stiffness to reduced range of motion in frozen shoulder
- Better than what? Comparisons in low back pain clinical trials
- The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
- No link between “text neck” posture and neck pain in 150 Brazilian young adults
- Can we identify types of back pain patients that respond better to treatments?
- Increased pain from muscle fascia following eccentric exercise: animal and human findings
- Effect of stretching on thoracolumbar fascia injury and movement restriction in a porcine model
- The effect of heat on skin permeability
- Patterns of sedentary behavior and mortality in US middle-aged and older adults: a national cohort study
- Clenching leg muscles reduces pain sensitivity everywhere
- Root compression on MRI compared with clinical findings in patients with recent onset cervical radiculopathy
- Knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid-20th century
- Clinical precision of myofascial trigger point location in the trapezius muscle
- Effectiveness of a home program of ischemic pressure followed by sustained stretch for treatment of myofascial trigger points
- Spinal manipulative therapy-specific changes in pain sensitivity in individuals with low back pain
- Resistance training linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, independently of aerobic exercise
- Effectiveness of calf muscle stretching for the short-term treatment of plantar heel pain: a randomised trial
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
- No, “stretching“ did not work for nurses with back pain
- Prognostic value of magnetic resonance imaging findings in patients with sciatica
- 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)
- Is 'plantar heel pain' a more appropriate term than 'plantar fasciitis'? Time to move on
- Thicker, juicier spinal discs in slow runners & fast walkers
- Spinal manipulation effects on acute back pain range from negative to minor
- At least half of herniated discs spontaneously de-herniate
- More evidence that IT band stretching is futile
- Interaction of leg stiffness and surfaces stiffness during human hopping
- Surface effects on in-shoe plantar pressure and tibial impact during running
- Diazepam Is No Better Than Placebo When Added to Naproxen for Acute Low Back Pain
- Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data
- Only a history of neck pain and being a woman are likely risk factors for neck pain
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