Studies and articles, published in 2012, that can help patients to better understand and manage their pain

[These are still relevant in 2015—Ed.]


"Anatomy of an Epidemic: The Opioid Movie" (MEDPAGE Today, 09/09/2012) John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Medpage Today and Ellen Gabler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel co-author an investigative report into the rapid rise of prescription painkiller sales over the past decade. A promotional video created by a leading pharmaceutical company in 1998 may have persuaded some doctors to prescribe their products (OxyContin, in particular). This article takes a second look at the use of opioid analgesics.

"Brain Activity Reflects Pain in Fibromyalgia"(this report is part of a 12-month Clinical Context series)(MedPage Today) Functional MRI was used to measure resting brain activity and connectivity and may provide an objective measure of pain in FM patients.

"Explaining Fibromyalgia to Others" by Kristin Thorson (Fibromyalgia Network, free article posted on 08/29/2012) This article looks at the challenges in trying to describe pain and symptoms of FM to other people.

"Fibromyalgia and the Brain: New Clues Reveal How Pain and Therapies are Processed" (American College of Rheumatology (ACR)) Research presented by Richard E. Harris, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, during the ACR 2012 Annual Meeting which examines the involvement of the µ-opioid system in the pathogenesis of Fibromyalgia and might explain patients’ response to certain analgesics.

Fibromyalgia: Current Status - Roland Staud, MD (National ME/FM Action Network, Canada) An informative 39 minute video featuring Dr. Staud, a pain specialist and professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine, and author of "Fibromyalgia For Dummies".

"Introducing 'Understanding UDT in Pain Care'" ( - News/Research Updates, article published 08/27/2012) Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD and Gary M. Reisfield, MA conduct a review of the "Clinical Complexities and Medical Mandates" (Part 1) surrounding urine drug testing (UDT) of patients in a pain management setting. Though they recognize UDT as an important part of patient monitoring, they also point out that "when UDT is motivated by fear and coercion, rather than diagnostic and therapeutic objectives, it can be offensive or intimidating to patients and misunderstood or misused by practitioners."

"Is the Deficit in Pain Inhibition in Fibromyalgia Influenced by Sleep Impairments?"(Bentham Open) Full access article (free) to a Canadian study evaluating sleep problems in Fibromyalgia, published in The Open Rheumatology Journal, 2012, 6, 296-302. This study found a relationship between inhibitory conditioned pain modulation (ICPM) efficacy and sleep quality, more precisely sleep effectiveness, in a significantly large sample of patients with Fibromyalgia (FM). This study also suggests the association between sleep problems/impaired sleep and ICPM may be closely linked to FM pathophysiology.

"My Pain Diary: Chronic Pain Management v1.982 for iPhone Now Available" (PRWeb, Jan. 19, 2012)  A new app now available for iPhone and iPod Touch offers a convenient/ effective way for patients to record, report, and manage their chronic pain conditions.

New Understanding of Chronic Pain Although this Science Daily article does not directly discuss ME/CFS or fibromyalgia, it  points out how metabolites can give direct indication of disease biochemistry and lead to potential treatments for chronic pain (which is present in ME/CFS and FM).

"Opioids on Trial, But Where's the Evidence?" ( - News/Research Updates, article posted 08/08/2012) Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD takes a critical look at how some Congressional Caucus members may influence decisions made on use of opioid analgesics for chronic noncancer pain (i.e., by limiting dose, length of treatment, and other restrictions) without balanced review of medical evidence.  is a site which is a wealth of information concerning pain for patients and providers. Be sure to check out the extensive interactive and non-interactive sources provided on their "Tools" page (click on "Tools" located along the top menu bar).

Pain Pathways magazine ( was created by Dr. Richard Rauck, in 2008 as a resource for people living with pain or those caring for others in pain. Several recent articles worth checking out are the following:

"7 Steps to Maintaining Healthy Relationships When You’re in Pain" Very timely and sound advice by Kevin E. Wilson, Ph.D., clinical faculty member of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Pain Fellowship Program on the toll that chronic pain and health problems take on our relationships and what we can do.

"Making the Most of Your Doctor Visit"  This article reviews tools (like charts and pain logs) that can help patients record and monitor their pain— these are provided by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA).

"Guided Imagery: A Valuable Tool for Managing Pain"  An overview of a technique that can help patients manage their pain (ways to shift one's focus away from pain) and be incorporated into their daily routine.

"Top 5 Drugs That Can Cause Pain" by Dr. Christina Lasich (HealthCentral, 08/06/2012) Review of medications used to relieve pain which may actually generate pain (i.e., such as over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, those containing caffeine as well as several prescription drugs).