29 May 2010

Meditation science

UCLA center

Physiological effects of meditation

Control over body temperature

28 May 2010

Aerobic exercise: More pain now for less later

A useful bit from The Well's interview with sports medicine specialist Dr. Vijay Vad

Q: What else can someone do to relieve pain besides take a prescription pain reliever or undergo a procedure?

A: There are so many self-help things you can do. Something as simple as trying to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can help. With pain, you’re in a vicious cycle – you take more narcotics, your REM sleep decreases, and then you’re tired and you don’t want to exercise. If you can get through the first week or two of extra pain by doing the proper exercise, like 30 minutes of walking daily, long term that’s going to have an impact. Most people give up on simple walking, but it can have a huge impact long term.

Q: For people treating pain with exercise, do you have to be willing to get worse in order to get rid of pain eventually?

A: In the case of exercises, that’s true. If the pain goes up four-fold, you’re doing something wrong, but proper exercise will make you a little worse for a while before it makes you better. It’s a pain desensitization period. Think about if you have raw skin on your knuckle and you tap it. At first it hurts, but if you tap it more and more it will get desensitized. You’re doing the same to your chronic pain structure when you exercise. There is so much data on this with rehabilitation for back pain, for instance. You become pain desensitized by proper exercise with gradual increases in stress. The overall consensus for exercise therapy is that it has a positive impact. It can be something simple — it doesn’t have to be fancy machines or stretches.

19 May 2010

Torture's effect on society



13 May 2010

Heat therapy for abdominal pain

ScienceDaily (Jul. 5, 2006)The old wives’ tale that heat relieves abdominal pain, such as colic or menstrual pain, has been scientifically proven by a UCL (University
College London) scientist, who will present the findings today at the
Physiological Society’s annual conference hosted by UCL.

Dr Brian King, of the UCL Department of Physiology, led the research
that found the molecular basis for the long-standing theory that heat,
such as that from a hot-water bottle applied to the skin, provides
relief from internal pains, such as stomach aches, for up to an hour.
Dr King said: “The pain of colic, cystitis and period pain is caused
by a temporary reduction in blood flow to or over-distension of hollow
organs such as the bowel or uterus, causing local tissue damage and
activating pain receptors.

“The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect –
it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same
way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this
molecular process works.”
If heat over 40 degrees Celsius is applied to the skin near to where
internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors located at the
site of injury. These heat receptors in turn block the effect of
chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body.

The team found that the heat receptor, known as TRPV1, can block
P2X3 pain receptors. These pain receptors are activated by ATP, the
body’s source of energy, when it is released from damaged and dying
cells. By blocking the pain receptors, TRPV1 is able to stop the pain
being sensed by the body.

Dr King added: “The problem with heat is that it can only provide
temporary relief. The focus of future research will continue to be the
discovery and development of pain relief drugs that will block P2X3
pain receptors. Our research adds to a body of work showing that P2X3
receptors are key to the development of drugs that will alleviate
debilitating internal pain.”

Scientists made this discovery using recombinant DNA technology to
make both heat and pain receptor proteins in the same host cell and
watching the molecular interactions between the TRPV1 protein and the
P2X3 protein, switched on by capsaicin, the active ingredient in
chilli, and ATP, respectively.

Adapted from materials provided by University College London.
University College London (2006, July 5). Heat Halts Pain Inside The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 19, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2006/07/060705090603.htm

11 May 2010


As always I'm super late on this, but the April pain blog carnival is up at How to Cope With Pain:

Definitely check it out.


Our friends at How to Cope With Pain are having a contest. The winners get the opportunity to write a guest post at the site. This is an excellent opportunity for those of you looking to bring your voice to a wider audience.
The contest details are here:

The deadline is 16th May, so hurry......