Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Summaries on the go

 •  • 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.

More than 60% of visitors are now using a smartphone, which is why I am still — for years now — making the site more “mobile friendly.” It takes more than just shrinking the design for small screens. On-the-go users have different needs, and in particular they are much more keen on getting answers now now now… and my extremely deep-diving articles aren’t ideal for that. When you’re at the drugstore, and you’re wondering if you should bother buying that 2 kg carton of Epsom salts, and you Google for some insight, you probably don’t want to read my 9,000-word article about it. Not right then and there, anyway. What you want is a brief summary of a nuanced, well-researched position that is backed by a 9,000-word article that you certainly could read later, if you weren’t so damn busy.

Most deep-dive articles are surprisingly summarize-able: the key points are brief enough. And so 40 articles on the site now begin with a carefully crafted abstract. For mobile users only. Because you are special!

I’ve actually been working on this project for years, because the writing on the wall has been there for years. And, although the key points are brief, writing clear summaries is hard. It’s relatively easy to barf out a thousand words. It’s brutal to choose the hundred words that perfectly capture everything important and nothing that isn’t. For instance, this post about summaries is about 250 words, but if I had to boil it down to 100 I’d be here for the next hour. Instead I think I’ll call it day, and give you this list of ten articles with good examples of summaries. But you can only see them on small screens! (Tip: if you’re on a desktop computer, just collapse your browser window down to phone size, and they will appear.)

  1. skepticism about “trigger points”
  2. sensitization
  3. fascia
  4. Epsom salts
  5. pain types
  6. soreness and malaise caused by massage
  7. spinal nerves and organ health
  8. stretching
  9. structuralism
  10. neutrophil paranoia

And now I just have another several dozen summaries to write …