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Criticize the science that supports you

 •  • 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.

Greg Lehman on exTwitter:

“It’s OK to have an opinion on a topic but still be critical of the research that supports your own opinion. I’d go further and say that you should be even more critical of the things that you promote and believe.”

And I’ll go one step further still: Everyone believes things without adequate or direct evidence, because it’s just impossible not to. The goal is self-awareness and humility, to know which of our beliefs are less certain, and to cling to those ones less tightly.

My own personal best example: I believe that trigger points are an important clinical phenomenon, and that massaging “knots” often seems to ease a lot of otherwise difficult pain. I am well aware that this belief does not rest on firm scientific foundations, and so my grip on it is loose. I definitely can be convinced to let it go… I just haven’t been yet. 😜

Here’s a basic intro to trigger points, and a deep dive into the controversies. (That article makes skeptics think I’m on their team, and trigger point therapists think I’m on theirs. But I haven’t been on anyone’s “team” on this topic for a decade!)

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