Pain has always been a matter of interest to those involved in rehabilitation and medicine. Decades of research has led to the understanding that pain is an extensive and complex mechanism, influenced by thoughts, emotions, context, previous experiences, perceptions, etc.
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Are athletes special people?   November 28th, 2016
Of course they are. We all have witnessed them and their exceptional performances during last summers’ Olympic games, the once-every-four-year alibi for sports fanatics to avoid bodily movement while watching their favourites giving the best of themselves.
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The prevalence of chronic sports injuries is high, while the etiology and pathophysiological mechanisms have largely remained unknown. To date, the most commonly used approach is limited to a biomedical one, focused on abnormalities and inflammation.
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Manchikanti and colleagues (2011) make in their paper entitled ‘placebo and nocebo in interventional pain management: a friend or a foe – or simply foes?’ an argument for a revaluation of placebo effects in clinical practice. They make the claim that clinicians should not try to avoid the placebo effect, but should try to potentiate it, as this effect isn’t just unethical and mythical but must seen as a very real phenomenon, which can be understood from a vast body of both psychological and neurophysiological research.
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​In a very recent review and clinical guideline of Heather Kroll, a nice overview is given about how exercise affects pain. But besides listing possible mechanisms of exercise induced analgesia, she reviews the therapeutic modalities and benefits for a wide variety of chronic pain diagnoses.
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The concept of myofascial trigger points keeps on inspiring researchers and clinicians. With the recent publication of an interesting review article in Rheumatology, the concept is really challenged.
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Therapeutic pain neuroscience education (TPNE) is becoming increasingly popular as (part of) the treatment of (chronic) pain and aims at altering the patient’s thoughts and beliefs about pain. Previous research has demonstrated the efficacy of TPNE in the treatment of chronic pain. TPNE is mostly given in one-on-one sessions, which has limitations, as it is time intensive, cost intensive and limited to patients in remote areas. Pain in Motion previously showed that written TPNE does little to alter pain, pain cognitions or illness perceptions in patients with fibromyalgia.
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Interpreting scientific results in clinical practice can be, to say at least, challenging. Especially when it is somewhat contradictory to what you have heard during all those years of extensive training in both physiotherapy education and other courses. As one of my friends recently put it this way: ‘The more I learn about pain, the less I know and the more confused I get.’
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The prevalence of tendinopathies is high both in athletes and in the general population. Despite a wealth of literature, the pain mechanisms of tendinopathies are not well understood. Currently, some studies have described whether, or to which degree, somatosensory changes within the nervous system may contribute to the pain in tendinopathies.
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