February Links and Review

Every week, my newsletter subscribers get links to some of the goodies that I’ve come across on the internets. Here were the goodies that my peeps got their learn on in February. If you want to get a copy of my weekend learning goodies every Friday, fill out the form below.  That way you can brag to all your friends about the cool things you’ve learned over the weekend.

Read More

It’s the Salient Detection System, Stupid

 Can you tell the difference among pain, depression, and pleasure? From a neurotransmitter perspective, the answer is no (see here and here). How is it that three very different states can be so neurologically similar? I feel the commonality that the nervous system purports reflects a system that responds to stimuli that are deviations from the norm. We call these instances by this word: Salient. Doesn’t that make your loins quiver? Let’s discuss how it works. Here’s your recommended reading. 1. The pain matrix reloaded: a salience detection system for the body (Thanks Sigurd) 2. Stress signalling pathways that impair prefrontal cortex structure and function (Thanks Son) 3. From the neuromatrix to the pain matrix (and back) [Note: Most of this article is an amalgamation of the three articles that I cited above and my own thoughts. Rather then cite every sentence AMA-style, I’ll give the credit to these guys above. Read ‘em and figure out how I put this together. For those who are sticklers for proper reference formatting, the type I am using is KMA-style citation.*] The Pain Neuromatrix Myth Hate to break it to you, but pain ain’t so special. Here’s why. If you follow modern pain science, you may often hear the term pain neurosignature or neurotag. This phrase is meant to describe a cluster of brain areas that are active during a pain experience. Information that can contribute to a pain experience travels to several areas. Some of the big players are the primary and secondary somatosensory cortices (all the

Read More

The End of Pain

I’m Done Treating Pain. Yes. You read that correctly. I’m over it. Several different thoughts have crept into to my mind sparked by what I have read and conversations I have had. I would like to share these insights with you. I remember when I was visiting Bill Hartman Dad a few months ago and we were talking about a specific treatment that is quite controversial in therapy today. He said something that really resonated with me: “Maybe they measured the wrong thing.” This sentiment was echoed in “Topical Issues in Pain 1” by Louis Gifford. Check out this fantastic excerpt: “Thus, pain can be viewed as a single perceptual component of the stress response whose prime adaptive purpose is to powerfully motivate the organism to alter behavior in order to aid recovery and survive.” Notice what I bolded there. Pain is a single component of the stress response. Not the stress response. Not a necessary component of the stress response. Just one possibility. Why do we place so much importance on pain? Many proponents of modern pain science (myself included) often use this statement against individuals who are over-biomedically inclined: “Nociception is neither necessary nor sufficient for a pain experience.” Agreed, pain is not always the occurring output when nociception is present. That said, pain is only one of several outputs that may occur when a tissue is injured. Just because pain is absent does not mean other outputs are also absent. Many different outputs can occur when an individual is

Read More