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High Pain Sensitivity

Many factors like trauma, stress, infections, can increase your pain sensitivity. Patients with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia (FM) have greater sensitivity to pain. This abnormal pain sensitivity can come in different forms, including hyperalgesia and allodynia. Hyperalgesia describes the increased sensitivity to painful stimuli while allodynia is…

Losing Sleep Can Hurt

It is well known that sleep and pain have a very strong relationship. Researchers recently set out to try to find out what mechanisms in your brain cause your pain sensitivity to increase after you lose sleep. Using a sleep-lab, they found that just one night of sleep deprivation…

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Dr. Staud collaborated on a research project looking at the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and cognitive behavioral therapy for pain (CBT-P) on patients with fibromyalgia. The Rheumatology Network recently reviewed this study. Sleep disturbance and pain have a strong relationship, lack of sleep can lower…

Your Health Depends on More than Just Your Genes

Did you get a genetic test for Christmas? These tests are becoming more and more popular as many people are curious to know how their genes influence their health. It is important to be wary of how you respond to the results of these tests because the research…

Inflammasomes

The inflammasomes are immune system receptors and sensors that regulate the cells of the immune system. Inside of the brain, this mostly consists of microglial cells that are responsible for protecting the brain and spinal cord. A key function of the inflammasomes is to detect and respond to microorganisms…

The Human Connectome

A “connectome” is a map of all of the connections between the neurons (nerve cells) in your brain (see image below). There are trillions of these connections and scientists are working to map them to unlock the keys to how your brain controls all aspects of your life—your behaviors,…

Doctor Visits Can Save Lives

Research studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients have an increased risk to die by suicide. Risk factors for suicidal ideation and attempt included self-reported fatigue, dizziness and weakness as well as obesity and drug dependence. However, researchers were able identify that interactions with health-care provider help prevent suicide in…

Caffeine may lower your pain sensitivity

Researchers at the University of Alabama recently looked at the relationship between pain sensitivity and caffeine intake. They had 62 adults measure their daily dietary caffeine consumption for a week and then completed pain sensitivity testing. Daily caffeine consumption was associated with higher heat and pressure pain thresholds, meaning…

Powerful Pain Relief

Expectations and memories of pain or pain relief can influence your pain. They play an important biological role; cues that help you predict how painful something might be, influence your decisions and help you avoiding dangerous situations. For example, when you see a hot metal rod, you’ll not touch…

The Mighty Sugar Pill

Researchers at Northwestern University recently published a study on the effects of a sugar pill on chronic back pain patients. About half the patients in the study experienced a 30% decrease in their pain intensity after taking it, similar to the relief from standard painkillers. Interestingly, the researchers were…