Claims and Pain

Not all information is equally useful and not all perspectives are equally valid. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but some opinions are worth more than others. In a rational discussion, any claim about the effectiveness of a pain treatment should be backed up by evidence and the nature of the evidence be made transparent. […]

Buyer Beware

These days it seems to me that many people believe there are two broad categories of medicine, “conventional” (the kind of medicine practiced by most medical doctors) and “alternative “(everything else including traditional Chinese, homeopathic, naturopathic, complementary and so on). Those who disdain “conventional” medicine with its drugs and surgery will be attracted to the […]

Belief is Not Enough

There are countless treatments available for pain if the Internet is any indication. Often, the description of a therapy is accompanied by explanations, endorsements and testimonials. When I read some of these things I am often impressed by the stories of relief and the passion with which they are told. I’m convinced that many who […]

Going Beyond Results

Just because a treatment of some kind may produce results doesn’t mean the theory behind that treatment is true. Psychoanalysis certainly helps some people but at least some of Freud’s theories have been surpassed by evidence-based science. I’ve seen positive responses to nerve blocks and meditation but have yet to see a strong theory backed […]

Nerve Blocks and Chronic Pain

A nerve block is an injection of local anesthetic close to a nerve. The drug attaches to the nerve and blocks any nerve signals travelling to or from the brain. The blockage occurs where the needle is inserted. Depending on the kind of nerve being blocked, the patient may feel numbness (no nerve signals going […]

Decisions, Decisions

Every intervention for pain may carry some risks and benefits. They key in deciding whether to try some new therapy is having knowledge of your chances of getting relief vs. your chance of having a bad reaction. Given that there is no such thing as perfect knowledge or certainty, you’ll have to take at least […]