Our goal is to provide people touched by or otherwise interested in chronic pain with knowledge of the latest findings and ideas from this blossoming area of science, so they can spark and contribute to a worldwide conversation about chronic pain and help rally support for research. From Relief
The pain treatment and research field is nothing if not diverse field. From using magnetic fields, to blocking the minute ion channels that pain signals travel through, to developing ketamine derivatives, to using heat therapy, to microglial blockers researchers and doctors are trying many different ways to block pain. In fact, the field is so diverse – a real change from not so long ago – it can be a little hard to keep with.
It’s also a fairly young field. An 2011 Institute of Medicine report which found that pain costs the U.S. economy up to a staggering $635 billion a year in medical treatments and economic losses provided a wake up call for the medical establishment. The NIH started, for the first time, to track the funds it spends on chronic pain but funding is still far less than it should be given the societal costs of pain.
Despite this tremendous personal and societal burden of illness, chronic pain is vastly under-recognized by the general public, policymakers, journalists, biomedical research funders, and even healthcare providers.
Once many doctors get past opioid pain relievers they’ve shot their wad. Most doctors receive little instruction in how to treat pain in medical school. It’s this gap between ill-informed doctors and a truly exciting research field that makes patient education so important. That’s how RELIEF can help.
RELIEF provides news summaries, feature articles, interviews, webinars and podcasts covering the latest findings in pain research for a general audience, including people living with chronic pain and others interested in gaining understanding of this area of scientific investigation.
RELIEF’s goal is to spark conversations that result in pain relief being given more of a priority in our medical system.
Our goal is to provide people touched by or otherwise interested in chronic pain with knowledge of the latest findings and ideas from this blossoming area of science, so they can spark and contribute to a worldwide conversation about chronic pain and help rally support for research.
Migraine Relief on the Horizon?
The RELIEF website has opened with some intriguing blogs. The latest charts thirty years of work that may soon culminate in an entirely new way to treat migraines. Decades ago researchers learned that a neuropeptide called CGRP released by the trigeminal nerves that innervate the face also regulated blood flows to the brain. CGRP blockers appeared to signal a new era of migraine treatments when, at the last minute, liver problems were found in the migraine patients given the drug. Years of work were dashed as a number of large pharmaceutical firms dropped their drugs.
All was not lost, though. Four companies raced to develop new drugs to block CGRP production using antibodies. Many questions remain, but the initial results look good. If they stand up, RELIEF expects a “seismic shift” to occur in migraine treatment in the future.
The Mars/Venus Divide: With Regards to Pain Men May Really Be From Mars
Another blog suggests that women’s pain may be very different than men’s. A sex divide in biology is nothing new; in fact enough evidence has mounted regarding sex differences in pain and other areas that the NIH is finally requiring that all animal studies employ both males and females.
A laboratory study last year suggested that the microglia play a huge role in pain sensitivity in men but not in women. It women’s vastly more complicated immune systems, immune cells called T-cells may be doing the job in women. If that’s true then expect more immune modulating drugs – and better relief over time – women in pain.
A Small Gene Change Paves the Way for a New Drug
Another blog reported how a genetic variation found in about 15% of people allowed them to recover from back surgery without suffering from chronic pain. Distinguishing that genetic variation enabled them to distinguish a key molecule in pain production. A drug company is now working a drug to block the production of that molecule.
More blogs report on using cannabis and complementary therapies to reduce pain, the role the brain plays in producing pain and more.
I’m going to be following RELIEF closely.
You can get the latest blogs from Relief by signing up for their “content alerts” using the second form from the top on this page. You can also sign up for their newsletter.
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