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Are clinicians becoming paralyzed by Pain Science?

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

This question was asked in a popular Facebook group for professionals who work with chronic pain patients. To be clear, it was not a reference to this website, though certainly this website promotes some of the ideas associated with the idea of “Pain Science,” which is regularly mistaken for a treatment method (something I have bemoaned before).

That question attracted a lot of comments, but mine was particularly popular, so I thought I’d transplant it to here, slightly edited and embellished for dramatic effect:

And what is “Pain Science” as opposed to the science of pain, exactly? Why capitalize it like a brand? What exactly are we talking about, if not “the science of pain”?

The owner of the domain (hint: it’s me) would really love to know what’s up with this capitalization bollocks. 😉 Because I know for damn sure that my brand is all about “the science of pain,” no capitalization, no modality or methology, no dogma or canon… just good information derived from the systematic investigation of the human experience of pain. That’s it.

If we are talking about the science of pain, then the question is effectively asking if clinicians are paralyzed by… knowing things. Are clinicians becoming paralyzed by the application of science to their work? By a modern and nuanced understanding of how pain works?

Maybe they are! But I’m sure that’s not a bad thing.

It’s true, knowledge can be paralyzing, and this has always been a challenge with evidence-based medicine: it’s hard! It’s the higher road. EBM is indeed harder than what came before. It is easier to just go with whatever witch’s brew of fact and fiction you’ve acquired from experience and mentors. Experience is especially seductive and misleading. But we do EBM not because it is easy, but because it is hard… and because it is better.

PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher