Study Finds More Than 10 Million New Cases of Adult Chronic Pain Per Year Interview with:
Richard L. Nahin, MPH, PhD

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland What is the background for this study?

Response: While there has been extensive research examining the prevalence of chronic pain, far less is known about the incidence of chronic pain.  Understanding the incidence of chronic pain is critical to understanding how such pain manifests and evolves over time.

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Key Driver of Neuropathic Pain Identified by Baylor College of Medicine Scientists Interview with:
Kimberley Tolias, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX 77030 What is the background for this study?

Response: Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain condition that affects millions of people worldwide, significantly impairing their quality of life.  Symptoms of neuropathic pain include spontaneous shooting or burning pain, pain from activities that don’t normally cause pain (allodynia), and heightened pain sensitivity (hyperalgesia).  Current treatment options for neuropathic pain, such as opioids, focus on symptom suppression and are generally ineffective and often cause unwanted side effect.  In order to develop safer, more effective chronic pain treatments, we need to better understand the processes that lead to neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve damage from a variety of insults (e.g., injury, disease, infection, chemotherapy drugs), which trigger structural and functional changes in the neurons and synaptic connections that transmit pain signals.  These activity-dependent alterations in somatosensory neural circuits are thought to be responsible for the persistent symptoms associated with chronic pain, but how they are induced and maintained following nerve injury or disease remains unclear.  To address this problem, our research team, including lead and co-corresponding author Dr. Lingyong Li (now at University of Alabama at Birmingham), investigated the mechanisms that underlie neuropathic pain, with the goal of identifying strategies to prevent or control it.

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COCHRANE: Poor Evidence for Prescription Antidepressants for Pain Relief Interview with:
Professor Tamar Pincus PhD
Professor in Health Psychology
Dean of the Faculty of the Environment and Life Sciences
University of Southampton What is the background for this study?

Response: Antidepressants are recommended by guidelines for many chronic pain conditions. The most common prescribed antidepressant in amitriptyline. We carried out the largest and most systematic review of all antidepressants for all pain condition, at any dose, to test whether they were effective at reducing pain, increasing physical function, and improving mood and sleep. We reviewed 176 trials with almost 30,000 participants. We rated each study for its methodology so we could rank each drug according to how much we could be certain of the evidence.

Cognitive Functional Therapy: Clinical and Cost-Effective Pain Reduction For Chronic, Disabling Low Back Pain Interview with:
Peter Kent
Adjunct Associate Professor
Curtin School of Allied Health
Curtin University, Perth
WA, Australia What is the background for this study?

Response: Although there had been clinical trials of Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) with promising results, there had not been a fully powered trial comparing CFT with usual care, nor any trials in Australia. Previous trials had included a maximum of 3 CFT clinicians, whereas the RESTORE trial included the training of 18 physiotherapists to CFT competency who had minimal prior exposure to CFT. No previous CFT trial had included an evaluation of 6161615g8cost effectiveness of CFT, nor examined whether the use of wearable motion sensor biofeedback might enhance the effect of CFT.

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COVID Effects on Nerves May Lead to Better Pain Relief Medications Interview with:
Venetia Zachariou PhD
Edward Avedisian Professor
Chair of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine What is the background for this study?

Response: COVID-19, the disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection, is associated with highly variable clinical outcomes that range from asymptomatic disease to death. For those with milder infections, COVID-19 can produce respiratory infection symptoms (cough, congestion, fever)  as well as loss of the sense of smell.

A substantial number of actively infected patients suffering from both mild and severe infections experience sensory-related symptoms, such as headache, visceral pain, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), nerve pain and inflammation. In most patients these symptoms subside after the infection ends, but, for other patients, they can persist. 

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Patient Preferred Music Therapy Reduced Pain in Real World Settings Interview with:
Seneca Block, Ph.D(c), MT-BC  
Board Certified Music Therapist and
The Lauren Rich Fine Endowed Director for Expressive Therapies

University Hospitals Connor Whole Health What is the background for this study?

Response: University Hospitals Connor Whole Health has developed an extensive network of inpatient music therapy programs through out 8 major community medical centers across North Eastern Ohio. Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that was used through out these locations to provide front-line non pharmacological treatment of pain, stress and anxiety.

Sciatica: Surgical Treatment May Provide Only Temporary Pain Relief Interview with:
Chang Liu
Researcher, PHD Student
University of Sydney What is the background for this study?

Response: Sciatica is a common condition caused by lumbar nerve root compression and/or inflammation, usually due to a herniated disc. Non-surgical treatments, such as exercise, are recommended as the first step, with pharmacological and interventional options available if needed.

Surgery, specifically discectomy, is a common treatment for sciatica but evidence supporting its effectiveness is uncertain. 

JAMA Study Finds Clinicians Not Maximizing Opportunities to Initiate Buprenorphine Treatment For Patients With Opioid Addiction Interview with:
Kao-Ping Chua, MD, PhD
Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center
Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor MI 48109

Kao-Ping Chua What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid overdose deaths are at a record high in the U.S. Many opioid overdose deaths can be prevented by medications for opioid use disorder, such as buprenorphine, a drug that can prescribed in office settings. However, buprenorphine cannot prevent opioid overdose deaths if patients are never started on the medication or only stay on the medication for a short time. For that reason, rates of buprenorphine initiation and retention are critical metrics for measuring how well the U.S. health care system is responding to the opioid epidemic.

At the time we started our study, several other research groups had evaluated U.S. rates of buprenorphine initiation and retention using data through 2020. However, more recent national data were lacking. We felt that this was an important knowledge gap given the many changes in society that have occurred since 2020. For example, it was possible that the relaxation of social distancing measures during 2021 and 2022 might have reduced barriers to health care visits, thereby increasing opportunities to initiate treatment for opioid addiction with buprenorphine.

EVALI – Vaping and Lung Injury – Storylines on Popular Medical Dramas May Change Behavior Interview with:
Beth Hoffman, PhD, MPH (she/her)
Postdoctoral Associate
Center for Social Dynamics and Community Health
Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies suggested that hearing about EVALI in the news might stop people from vaping or get them to quit, but there had yet to be research examining if storylines on fictional medical television shows could have the same effects. There had also been few studies to date leveraging Twitter data, which allowed us to see how viewers were reacting to the storylines in real-time, in their organic viewing environment.

High School Students Risk Back Pain with Prolonged Texting and Cell Phone Use Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Alberto De Vitta

Department of Physical Therapy
Centro Universitário das Faculdades Integradas de Ourinhos
Água do Cateto, Ourinhos
Brazil What is the background for this study?

Response: This research is part of a line of research that addresses the intersectoriality between education and health, in which it seeks to study the various risk factors of the educational environment that can influence the health of schoolchildren. What are the main findings?

Response: In this study the main results were:  There is high prevalence and incidence of Thoracic Spine Pain (TSP) in high school students and the TSP is associated with the female sex, mental health problems, and body posture while using cell phones, tablets, and PCs as well as with the duration of use of cell phone and tablet.