Newsletter: Chronic Pain excerpts-- July 2018

Michelle Burns
July 23, 2018

Here is some of the information I recently shared in my July newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This month is focused on fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain information. If you would be interested in receiving my newsletters, please head over to my contact page and sign up.

Tidbits, Updates and Resources:

1.Five myths about pain that many manual therapists are sick of Hearing by Nick Ng (can be found in Massage & Fitness Magazine).

  • I need an x-ray or scan to detect the source of my back pain
  • Pain science doesn't apply to acute pain from an injury
  • Pain science can help explain someone's pain experience
  • Pain science is compatible with the tissue-plasticity model
  • Psychosocial factors are only important in people experiencing ongoing or persistent pain

2.  3 steps to be an even more effective pain relief therapist by Irene Diamond--a 45 minutes video of a webcast.


I receive a weekly update on anything published anywhere on the internet that includes information about fibromyalgia and chronic pain. If you have any problems with the links, please let me know, or if you come across any information that you think would be good to share, please also feel free to pass that information along:

1. A study titled"Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis by Yuan, Matsutani & Marques and publish in Apr 2015 in Man Ther concluded: “myofascial release had large, positive effects on pain and medium effects on anxiety and depression in contrast with placebo…myofascial release also improves fatigue, stiffness and quality of life. Connective tissue massage improves depression and quality of life; manual lymphatic drainage is superior to connective tissue massage regarding depression and quality of life; Shiatsu improves pain, pressure pain threshold, fatigue, sleep and quality of life: and Swedish massage does not improve outcomes.

2. In a study in Sci Rep 2016 titled “Efficacy of cupping therapy in patients with the fibromyalgia syndrome-a randomized placebo-controlled trial” concluded: Five cupping treatments were more effective than usual care to improve pain intensity and quality of life. However, the effects were small and cupping was not superior to sham cupping treatments, further research is warranted.

3. In a paper by Larimer Moseley, “Reconceptualizing Pain According to Modern Pain Science, published through the University of South Australia at, he argues that “the biology of pain is never really straightforward, even when it appears to be. It is proposed that understanding what is currently known about the biology of pain requires a reconceptualization of what pain actually is, and how it serves our livelihood. He suggests there are four key points:

  1. That pain does not provide a measure of the state of the issues
  2. That pain is modulated by many factors from across somatic, psychological and social domains
  3. That the relationship between pain and the state of the tissues becomes less predictable as pain persists
  4. That pain can be conceptualized as a conscious correlate of the implicit perception that tissue is in danger.

4. A short summary of an article by John Quintner, titled “Evolution, Stress, and Fibromyalgia” adapted from Lyon P, Cohen M, Quinter J. An evolutionary stress-response hypothesis for Chronic Widespread Pain (Fibromyalgia Syndrome). Pain Med 2011;12:1167-1178  suggests a Stress Response and Substance P response in combination may explain the disparity in symptoms and why many treatments have not been effective.

5. A follow-up article to the above reference, titled “How did fibromyalgia ever become a brain disease? Disentangling conjecture and truth, by John Quintner, debunks the Central sensitivity syndromes theories.

6. A study published in Scientific Reports titled Functional Brain Network mechanism of Hypersensitivity in Chronic Pain, and summarized by Haley Otman at Medical press, titled Does an exploding brain network cause chronic pain? suggests “as opposed to the normal process of gradually linking up different centers in the brain after a stimulus, chronic pain patients have conditions that predispose them to linking up in an abrupt, explosive manner.”

7.  A study titled “Effectiveness of Therapeutic Exercise in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials", published in Biomed Res Int 2017, concludes: aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are the most effective way of reducing pain and improving global well-being in people with fibromyalgia and that stretching and aerobic exercises increase health-related quality of life.

8.  A narrative article, published in Minerva Anestesiol Jan 2018, titled  "The role of cannabinoids in pain control: the good, the bad and the ugly” concluded: cannabinoids appear to be most effective in controlling neuropathic pain, allodynia, medication-rebound headache, and chronic non cancer pain, but do not seem to offer any advantage over nonopioid analgesics for acute pain. Cannabinoids seem to work no better than placebo for visceral pain and conferred only modest analgesic effect in cancer pain.

9.  A study published in Turk J Med Sci Dec 2017, titled “Does fibromyalgia have an effect on hearing loss in women?” concludes: results point to a pathophysiologic link between fibromyalgia and the development of audiological abnormalities in these patients.

10.  A study published in Complement Ther Med Feb 2018 titled “Effect of whole body cryotherapy interventions on health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia patients: a randomized controlled trial” concludes: Whole body cryotherapy can be recommended as an effective clinically adjuvant approach in the improvement of health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.”

Alternative Health Arena

1. A study, titled “Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial", published Mar 2018 in BMJ, concludes: Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or greater improvement in symptoms than aerobic exercise…for a variety of outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia. Longer duration of tai chi showed greater improvement.”

2.  A study, titled “Reiki is better than placebo and has broad potential as a complementary health therapy", published in J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med Oct 2017, concludes: found reasonably strong evidence for Reiki being more effective than placebo.”

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