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Journal: Journal of pain research


Chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP) have become a serious medical and socioeconomic problem in recent decades. Patients suffering from chronic pain seem to have a higher prevalence of sleep disorders.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Sleep deprivation, Pain, Chronic pain


Generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) is highly prevalent among patients diagnosed with chronic pain. When GJH is accompanied by pain in ≥4 joints over a period ≥3 months in the absence of other conditions that cause chronic pain, the hypermobility syndrome (HMS) may be diagnosed. In addition, GJH is also a clinical sign that is frequently present in hereditary diseases of the connective tissue, such as the Marfan syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, and the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. However, within the Ehlers-Danlos spectrum, a similar subcategory of patients having similar clinical features as HMS but lacking a specific genetic profile was identified: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobility type (EDS-HT). Researchers and clinicians have struggled for decades with the highly diverse clinical presentation within the HMS and EDS-HT phenotypes (Challenge 1) and the lack of understanding of the pathological mechanisms that underlie the development of pain and its persistence (Challenge 2). In addition, within the HMS/EDS-HT phenotype, there is a high prevalence of psychosocial factors, which again presents a difficult issue that needs to be addressed (Challenge 3). Despite recent scientific advances, many obstacles for clinical care and research still remain. To gain further insight into the phenotype of HMS/EDS-HT and its mechanisms, clearer descriptions of these populations should be made available. Future research and clinical care should revise and create consensus on the diagnostic criteria for HMS/EDS-HT (Solution 1), account for clinical heterogeneity by the classification of subtypes within the HMS/EDS-HT spectrum (Solution 2), and create a clinical core set (Solution 3).

Concepts: Collagen, Syndromes, Marfan syndrome, Genetic disorders, Connective tissue, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Hypermobility, Diseases involving the fasciae


Treating pain in primary care is challenging. Primary care providers (PCPs) receive limited training in pain care and express low confidence in their knowledge and ability to manage pain effectively. Models to improve pain outcomes have been developed, but not formally implemented in safety net practices where pain is particularly common. This study evaluated the impact of implementing the Stepped Care Model for Pain Management (SCM-PM) at a large, multisite Federally Qualified Health Center.

Concepts: Improve, Pain, Model, Implementation, Community


The use of medical cannabis is increasing, most commonly for pain, anxiety and depression. Emerging data suggest that use and abuse of prescription drugs may be decreasing in states where medical cannabis is legal. The aim of this study was to survey cannabis users to determine whether they had intentionally substituted cannabis for prescription drugs.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drugs, Suffering


Opioids have been used for millennia for the treatment of pain. However, the long-term efficacy of opioids to treat chronic non-cancer pain continues to be debated. To evaluate opioids' efficacy in chronic non-cancer pain, we performed a meta-analysis of published clinical trials for μ-opioid receptor agonists performed for US Food and Drug Administration approval.


The aim of this review was to assess the efficacy of cannabis preparations for relieving pain in patients with malignant diseases, through a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which were predominantly double-blind trials that compared cannabis preparation to a placebo.


Fetal pain remains a controversial subject both in terms of recognizing its existence and the time-frame within which it appears. This article investigates the hypothesis that pain perception during development is not related to any determined structures of the central nervous system (CNS), on the contrary, the process of perception could be made with any structure satisfying conditions that the perception of pain is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. According to this definition, chronic decerebrate and decorticate experimental animals, anencephalic, and hydranencephalic patients demonstrate that the basic, most general, appropriate interaction with the environment can be achieved with a functional mesodiencephalon (brain stem, and diencephalon) as the hierarchically highest structure of the CNS during development. In intact fetuses, this structure shows signs of sufficient maturation starting from the 15th week of gestation. Bearing in mind the dominant role of the reticular formation of the brain stem, which is marked by a wide divergence of afferent information, a sense of pain transmitted through it is diffuse and can dominate the overall perception of the fetus. The threshold for tactile stimuli is lower at earlier stages of gestation. The pain inhibition mechanisms are not sufficiently developed during intrauterine development, which is another factor that leads to increased intensity of pain in the fetus. As a conclusion it could be proposed that the fetus is exposed to rudimentary painful stimuli starting from the 15(th) gestation week and that it is extremely sensitive to painful stimuli.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Pregnancy, Brain, Embryo, Uterus, Neurology, Sensory system


Background: Previous studies have shown that virtual reality (VR) is effective in reducing acute and chronic pain both in adults and in children. Given the emergence of new VR technology, and the growing body of research surrounding VR and pain management, an updated systematic review is warranted. Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review is to compare the effectiveness of VR in reducing acute and chronic pain in adults. Data Sources: A search was conducted in three databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Trip) using standardized search terms. Study Selection: Twenty experimental and quasi-experimental trials published between January 2007 and December 2018 were included based on prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria. Pain intensity was the primary outcome. Data Extraction: We extracted data and appraised the quality of articles using either the PEDro or Modified Downs and Black risk of bias tools. Data Synthesis: The majority of studies supported the use of VR to reduce acute pain both during the procedure and immediately after. Numerous studies found VR reduced chronic pain during VR exposure but there is insufficient evidence to support lasting analgesia. There was considerable variability in patient population, pain condition and dosage of VR exposure. Limitations: Due to heterogeneity, we were unable to perform meta-analyses for all study populations and pain conditions. Conclusions: VR is an effective treatment for reducing acute pain. There is some research that suggests VR can reduce chronic pain during the intervention; however, more evidence is needed to conclude that VR is effective for lasting reductions in chronic pain.


Obesity and pain present serious public health concerns in our society. Evidence strongly suggests that comorbid obesity is common in chronic pain conditions, and pain complaints are common in obese individuals. In this paper, we review the association between obesity and pain in the general population as well as chronic pain patients. We also review the relationship between obesity and pain response to noxious stimulation in animals and humans. Based upon the existing research, we present several potential mechanisms that may link the two phenomena, including mechanical/structural factors, chemical mediators, depression, sleep, and lifestyle. We discuss the clinical implications of obesity and pain, focusing on the effect of weight loss, both surgical and noninvasive, on pain. The literature suggests that the two conditions are significant comorbidities, adversely impacting each other. The nature of the relationship however is not likely to be direct, but many interacting factors appear to contribute. Weight loss for obese pain patients appears to be an important aspect of overall pain rehabilitation, although more efforts are needed to determine strategies to maintain long-term benefit.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Surgery, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Chronic pain


Thanks to advances in neuroscience, biopsychosocial models for diagnostics and treatment (including physical, psychological, and pharmacological therapies) currently have more clinical support and scientific growth. At present, a conservative treatment approach prevails over surgery, given it is less aggressive and usually results in satisfactory clinical outcomes in mild-moderate temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The aim of this review is to evaluate the recent evidence, identify challenges, and propose solutions from a clinical point of view for patients with craniofacial pain and TMD. The treatment we propose is structured in a multi-modal approach based on a biobehavioral approach that includes medical, physiotherapeutic, psychological, and dental treatments. We also propose a new biobehavioral model regarding pain perception and motor behavior for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with painful TMD.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Neuroscience, Pain, Psychiatry, Dentistry, Temporomandibular joint disorder, Pain asymbolia