It has been a long time since I last posted actively on this blog. This is because, over the last year, I have been writing my PhD thesis – and although I’m not yet completely finished, I’m very close. This means I’m ready to roll out the weekly blog posts again!
For people who are not familiar with my blog, the blog emerged as one way I could cope with, and rehabilitate from, a so-called “mild” traumatic brain injury – aka post-concussion syndrome.
My aim was, and still is, to provide clinicians with research-based information about chronic pain, and how to live well with it. Truly, to help those who help people to develop Health Skills.
I’m definitely a pain geek. I love reading the research literature. At the same time, I know that a good deal of research is hidden behind paywall subscriptions to j0urnals; many clinicians don’t have time to read through the enormous range of journals that are available; and some research doesn’t seem particularly relevant to daily clinical practice.
My mission, and I’ve chosen to accept it, is to do some of the work for you. I can access many journals as part of my academic work (I’m a Senior Lecturer in pain in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, NZ). I have to read this stuff, and because I teach, research and work clinically, I need to work out the relevance of research in my own mind to make any sense of it.
I’ll carry on posting brief summaries of good research from peer-reviewed journals. I’ll also consider the clinical implications – or at least I’ll ponder them, whether I arrive at any conclusions is probably a moot point. At the very least I hope I’ll provoke some questions in your mind about what the research means for you in your clinical practice.
If you’re a person who has chronic pain, please note that this blog isn’t intended to provide you with answers to your personal situation. I don’t know you, and couldn’t possibly work out whether you should, or shouldn’t, apply anything to your situation. For what it’s worth, I do have chronic pain (fibromyalgia), but I don’t do this kind of work as some sort of personal crusade. I just think that anyone who has chronic pain deserves really good, open and honest pain management, and my little part is to make some of the research more widely available than it is otherwise. If you’ve found The Answer – fantastic! If you’ve got The Clinician – great! But what probably works for you, may not work for anyone else, and I won’t promote it unless it’s subject to systematic scientific examination.
Finally, I’m not into arguing with dogmatism, mystical beliefs, superstition or even engaging in terribly much argument. It rarely does anything for anyone, and wastes my energy. I’m a scientist – I have a Master of Science, and nearly a PhD. I’m not going to pretend tolerance of appeals to etheric energies or other wafty notions. With that in mind, I do love interacting with people who have genuine interest in understanding what this thing called pain really is, and how we can all help people live more fully despite having to deal with it long-term.