Pain Studies In The News
Pain education in medical schools needs improvement
Source: American Pain Society
Even though pain is by far the leading reason people seek medical care, pain education at North American medical schools is limited, variable and often fragmentary, according to a new study.
Results show that a majority of the 117 medical schools studied are teaching one or more core topics in pain, but many are not reporting any pain teaching and most others devote less than five hours to pain education. Furthermore, the authors found that cancer pain, pediatric pain and geriatric pain are essentially unaddressed by the vast majority of medical schools.
Mindfulness program eases arthritis symptoms
Source: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
New research shows that an intervention aimed at helping patients accept the pain and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis, while at the same time blocking negative thoughts and anxiety about their condition, reduced patients' depression and improved coping skills. Many other psychological interventions for patients with chronic disease such as arthritis have found only short-term benefits, but in this study the benefits persisted for a year after the program.
Who benefits most from surgery for herniated discs?
January 4, 2012 Source: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Some patient subgroups see greater improvement after surgery for herniated spinal discs relative to nonoperative outcomes, reports a recent study. Three factors were independently related to a greater treatment effect. The treatment effect of disc surgery was greater for married people, for patients who did not have problems with other joints (hip, knee, etc), and for patients whose back pain symptoms were getting worse at the time of treatment.
Spinal manipulation, home exercise may ease neck pain
January 2, 2012 Source: HealthDay
Spinal manipulation and home exercise are more effective at relieving neck pain in the long term than medications, according to new research. At one year, 27 percent of those receiving spinal manipulation said they felt a 100 percent reduction in pain versus 17 percent of those on medications and 37 percent of those doing home exercises. People undergoing manipulation therapy for neck pain also reported greater satisfaction than people receiving medication or doing home exercises.
Acupuncture a dud for pain, but evidence is weak
January 1, 2012 Source: Pain-Topics.org
In a multicenter clinical trial, acupuncture proved to be disappointing for the relief of musculoskeletal pain in women taking aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer. Consequently, after an interim analysis, the trial was stopped early. However, this study provides lessons in the complexities of pain research on acupuncture and how weaknesses of evidence preclude valid conclusions.
Endometriosis raises risk of inflammatory bowel disease
December 24, 2011 Source: Medical News Today
About one in ten women of child-bearing age suffers from endometriosis, a fairly common condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body. According to a new study, women with endometriosis are almost twice as likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease compared to other females. The effect can last for up to 20 years following an endometriosis diagnosis.
Study assesses pain relieving benefits from music
December 22, 2011 Source: American Pain Society
The findings of a new study suggest that engaging activities like music listening can be effective for reducing pain in high anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in activities. Among study subjects, those with high levels of anxiety about pain had the greatest net engagement. The authors noted that interaction of anxiety and absorption is a new finding and implies that such personality characteristics should be considered when recommending engagement strategies for pain relief.
Knee pain common in older women
December 21, 2011 Source: Medical News Today
A new study on knee-pain patterns assessed periodically over 12 years finds that nearly two-thirds (63%) of women aged 50 and over experience knee pain at least once, persistently, or intermittently over such a period. The authors found these patterns were more likely in women with higher body mass index, with a previous knee injury, or whose scans showed they had osteoarthritis.
New method of infant pain assessment
December 21, 2011 Source: The Journal of Visualized Experiments.
Recently, the accuracy of current methods of pain assessment in babies has been called into question. A new technique measures brain activity in infants to better understand their pain response. The technique evaluates the electrical activity in skeletal muscles and uses electroencephalography (EEG) to detect activity in the areas of the brain where unpleasant sensations are processed.
Low back pain - Practitioners recommend time off despite guidelines
December 20, 2011 Source: Medical News Today
Even though guidelines for the clinical management of patients with low back pain (LBP) encourage practitioners to advise patients to remain active and return to work, a new study shows that many practitioners believe that there are aspects of work that are harmful to patients' recovery and feel that their role in returning patients to work is limited. Eighty percent of respondents said they sometimes recommended work absence to LBP patients and 13% said that they do so often or always.
Rare birth defects tied to mom's painkiller use
December 13, 2011 Source: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Women who take over-the-counter painkillers during early pregnancy have a slightly higher risk of having babies with certain rare birth defects, according to a new study. For instance, babies were three times as likely to be born with no eyes, or with abnormally small eyeballs that often cause blindness, if their mothers had taken aspirin or naproxen (sold as Aleve). The babies' risk of amniotic band syndrome was also three times higher.
Chronic pain in children and adolescents becoming more common
December 9, 2011 Source: Elsevier
In the first comprehensive review of chronic pain in children and adolescents in 20 years, a group of researchers found that more children now are suffering from chronic pain and that girls suffer more frequently from chronic pain than boys. Psychosocial variables impacting pain prevalence included anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and low socioeconomic status. Headache was found to be the most common pain type, with an estimated prevalence of 23%.
One in three women with secondary breast cancer needlessly in pain, study
December 9, 2011 Source: Medical News Today
A NEW study, thought to be the first of its kind, examined the quality of life for women with secondary or metastatic breast cancer and found that more than a third are living needlessly with uncontrolled pain. The results showed that 27% of women had shortness of breath and 26% experienced nausea. Women whose cancer had spread to their bones were more likely to be in pain, with 44% reporting significant pain.
Costly diagnostic MRI tests unnecessary for many back pain patients
December 8, 2011 Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
New research suggests that routine MRI imaging does nothing to improve the treatment of patients who need injections of steroids into their spinal columns to relieve pain. Moreover, MRI plays only a small role in a doctor's decision to give these epidural steroid injections (ESIs), the most common procedure performed at pain clinics in the United States.
More about vitamin D3, rather than D2, for pain
December 7, 2011 Source: Pain-Topics.org
The potential benefits of supplementation with vitamin D3, not D2, in persons with musculoskeletal pain have long been advocated. While some authors claim the formulation of vitamin D does not make that much difference, recent feedback from an UPDATES reader, plus a research summary by two experts, point toward D3 as the definite choice. In fact, prescribing D2 supplements should be reconsidered.
Work needed in pain control for elderly
December 7, 2011 Source: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Educating prescribers about the 2009 American Geriatric Society's treatment guidelines for persistent pain led to limited improvements in choice of drug therapy, but more appropriate pain assessment, researchers report. The educational program resulted in a decrease in the use of NSAIDs or COX2 inhibitors from 44% to zero percent among patients with gastrointestinal disorders, but had little effect on prescribing of opioids. Importantly, however, a great improvement in pain assessment, particularly among cognitively impaired patients, was found.
Medical marijuana could help patients reduce pain with opiates
December 6, 20011 Source: University of California, San Francisco
A new study suggests that patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids – the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana – to an opiates-only treatment. The findings also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages.
New data demonstrating the impact of opioid-related adverse events on total hospital cost presented at American Society of Health-System Pharmacists meeting
December 5, 2011 Source: Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced new data gleaned from a national database of patients from 381 U.S. hospitals who underwent common hospital-based surgical procedures and received opioids for postsurgical pain management. The data demonstrate that opioid-related adverse events are associated with more than a $1,000 increase in hospitalization cost and more than a day increase in length of hospital stay (LOS).