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 PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Statistics explained with poetry

Paul Ingraham

“Regression to the mean” is the science-y way of saying that things just get better eventually. Here’s a poem about it:

If something varies normally between two far extremes,
It usually swings back naturally to values in between.

And two minutes more of that. Back pain gets a mention. RttM is indeed the major-est of ways that people are fooled into thinking a treatment worked, when in fact they just “swung back naturally the values in between.”

For a much more detailed discussion of this topic, see The Power of Barking: A silly metaphor for a serious point about correlation, causation, and how we decide what treatments work.

End of post marker

Last post: Not a doctor

Next post: The most dangerous company in the world