Pain Management

Women and pain: Disparities in experience and treatment

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

Most people dealing with chronic pain are women, but most pain research has been done on men. The disparity in how women are diagnosed and treated is unfair, and can be dangerous.

Lessons from a chronic pain management program

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

Comprehensive programs for chronic pain involve a variety of components, from body mechanics to nutrition to occupational therapy and beyond. And while there is no easy fix for chronic pain, and sometimes no permanent fix at all, unexpected victories can be made in the search for answers.

Too many pain pills after surgery: When good intentions go awry

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on lives. There are many factors behind this crisis, some of which may be surprising. A reasonable and well-intentioned effort to reduce and relieve pain can inadvertently lead to a potentially life-threatening addiction, but there are some surprisingly simple ways to avoid such scenarios.

Taming the pain of sciatica: For most people, time heals and less is more

Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH

While not as common as other types of back pain, sciatica can cause intense discomfort, but often the best course of treatment involves controlling the pain and keeping active while the condition subsides.

Here’s something completely different for low back pain

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

With recently revised guidelines recommending that people with low back pain not take medication, it’s natural to wonder: what should I do, then? There are many options, among them heat, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Yes, I’ve tried that too: When well-intentioned advice hurts

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

If you know someone dealing with chronic pain it’s tempting to offer advice, but whatever the suggestion might be, that person has almost certainly tried it already. Simply taking time to listen and empathize may be more helpful.

Why coffee might ease your pain (especially if you’re a sleepy mouse)

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

A new study found that caffeine may reduce sensitivity to pain, perhaps more effectively than standard pain relievers. But because the findings are based on mouse experiments we can’t say whether or not the results might apply to humans.

Safe injection sites and reducing the stigma of addiction

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The scope of the opioid crisis in the US has led some individuals and communities to revise their view of addiction and substance use disorders. One idea being considered is creating supervised injection facilities that would provide a safe environment and make treatment resources available to those who want them.

Over-the-counter pain relievers and your heart

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

As the evidence mounts linking use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with increased risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, consumers need to be aware of the risks involved in taking these medications.

Acupuncture: A point in the right direction, or a stab in the dark?

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

Though some people surely benefit from acupuncture for the treatment of pain, its drawbacks (cost, length of treatment sessions, short duration of relief) mean that it may be a less effective choice than physical therapy or a medication.