Douglas Nelson is a neuromuscular therapist, and good guy, who has been in practice since 1977. This makes him well qualified to tackle the subject ‘The Mystery of Pain.’ I picked up my copy at the excellent PNMT biennial Colloquium that Doug organized in Champaign IL, in August (Jay Shah was there). I wish this 200 page read had been around 11 years ago when I had to prepare six lecture-hours on pain at the college I taught at. Back then I grabbed what massage-friendly snippets I could find from this source and that.

The Mystery of Pain elegantly bridges the gap between the scientifically correct and the readable. Chapters have headings like “Alarms, Fires, and Alarms without Fires’, “Pain as Punishment? Seriously?’, ‘The Importance of Meaning and Context’, and finally, best of all ‘Now we know what causes (fill in the blank).’ Discussion of meaning, perception, attention, context and invalidation of pain feature constantly. (Invalidation will feature in a future post.) Trigger points are a common thread in the book. Doug explains their referred pain sensation by the phrase ‘that which fires together wires together’. Good therapy may unwire.

Fill in the blank

Previously, I have compared the myofascial pain viewpoint with that of the neuromatrixers. It seems that they are officially known as the ‘End Organ Dysfunction Model’ and the ‘Altered Nervous System Processing Model’. Who knew? Doug did. As the pendulum swings from one model to the next are we better able to answer ‘Now we know what causes (fill in the blank)? Fill in the blank.

I want it, and I want it now

Later in August (a good month for conferences) I was in Seattle for the ninth IMS conference At a vendor booth I picked up the classic and weighty text ‘Bonica’s Management of Pain’. I’ve always wanted this book, but just can’t bear to shell out the 300 bucks. (Jan Dommerholt has written the trigger point chapter, so I know that this subject will be correctly covered.) I was telling this story to a patient the other day who said she will buy it for me if I get rid of her pain. I’ll let you know how this turns out.