Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Reading Guide for Patients

How to find information about your pain problem, and other reading recommendations for patients

Paul Ingraham • 9m read

What hurts? The main pain topics on are muscle pain and injury, neck and low back pain, and overuse injuries of the knee, shin, and foot. Many other topics are covered as well … but those are the big ones.

No problem? If you don’t have any particular problem to solve, start with one of my more controversial articles, some of which or sorta-kinda infamous, like the one about stretching, or the one about Epsom salts.

What works? There are also several major treatment and therapy topics. Self-treatment is the biggest theme on the site. There’s a giant list of handy pain survival tips, plus dozens of detailed articles about things you can do yourself, like self-massage, exercise and posture, icing and heating, and reviews of many popular home remedies like Epsom salts or homeopathic arnica. The hands-on therapies — like massage therapy and chiropractic — are all covered in detail.

What’s not here? I don’t write in detail about arthritis, trauma, or disease-related pain.

The big list o’ painful problems (alphabetical),
and where to start reading about them

All common names for conditions are included, so look for any common name. Main topics are highlighted.

Tip! You can use your web browser’s “find” feature to look on this page for keywords that might not be listed alphabetically. That also works well with the main articles directory, which lists hundreds of articles with full subtitles.

Another tip! This list shows articles to start with. Use the website search at the top of every page on the site to find all articles on the site that refer to a problem.

Site highlights for patients

My own top five picks for patients

Here are five that I really poured my heart, soul and brain into, a few of the articles I’ve written over the years that — I hope — might really make a difference for people.

  1. Quite a Stretch — Stretching science has shown that this extremely popular form of exercise has almost no measurable benefits Stretching is one of the most popular self-treatments in existence. That’s an awful lot of people who aren’t getting the benefits they’re hoping for.
  2. Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment — Debunking the obsession with alignment, posture, and other biomechanical bogeymen as major causes of pain. Somewhat heavier reading, but worthwhile: so much time and money is wasted trying to solve pain problems by thinking about them this way. It’s a particularly useful thing to understand about the world of therapy for pain.
  3. A Painful Biological Glitch that Causes Pointless Inflammation — How an evolutionary wrong turn led to a biological glitch that condemned the animal kingdom — you included — to much louder, longer pain. Quite a new article that goes a long way to explaining stubborn pain problems, this one is destined to be one of the best pieces on pain that I have written or ever will.
  4. Muscle Pain as an Injury Complication — The story of how I finally “miraculously” recovered from the pain of a serious shoulder injury, long after the injury itself had healed. My own experience provided an engaging way of explaining one of the most common and basic issues in rehab.
  5. Pain Relief from Personal Growth — Treating tough pain problems with the pursuit of emotional intelligence, life balance, and peacefulness. It’s a bit quirky, but I’ve always really loved this one. So many painful problems are basically mysterious and lack anything like a “cure” — and what do you do then? You try to change your life … and hope it helps your body.

The five most popular articles on by traffic

It’s hard to know why some articles turn into blockbusters. These are not necessarily the best articles — but they are definitely the most visited.

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