What’s the Worst Pain?

Some people say that life is pain. Those people are optimistic: life isn’t pain, it’s pains, plural – tooth pain, back pain, breakup-pain, the pain of watching your parents grow old and die, the pain of downwardly adjusting your expectations for life, stomach pain and sinus pain, pain you can’t quite trace to any one single source – a thousand different strains of this stuff, some not-insignificant percentage of which you’ll almost certainly experience before your (likely painful) death. Read More >>

The ‘Holy Grail’ of Safe Opioids Might Be One Step Closer to Reality

The ultimate goal of pain medicine—a powerful painkiller with few to no side effects, such as dependence or overdose—is still elusive. But a team of researchers from Wake Forest University in the US believe they’ve come closer to reaching it. Their latest study, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, details an experimental opioid that seems capable of stopping pain in non-human primates, but without any signs of addiction. Read More >>

An Experimental Painkiller Combines the Best Parts of Botox and Opioids—at Least in Mice

Scientists are scrambling to find painkillers that can ease suffering without the addictive potential of opioids. One potential solution, a new study out Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine suggests, might involve creating modified versions of the common wrinkle treatment botox, otherwise known as botulinum toxin. Read More >>

‘Electronic Skin’ Allows User of Prosthetic Hand to Feel Pain

Current prosthetic limbs aren’t yet capable of transmitting complex sensations like texture or pain to the user, but a recent breakthrough by scientists at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in which a synthetic layer of skin on an artificial hand transmitted feelings of pain directly to the user, takes us one step closer to that goal. Read More >>

A Woman’s New Tattoo Led to Three Years of Chronic Pain, Doctors Say

There are plenty of bad (and cool!) tattoos out there, but few might ever be as regrettable as the one that apparently caused an immune disorder and years of chronic pain in a UK woman. The bizarre medical tale, detailed by her doctors Monday in BMJ Case Reports, is apparently the first recorded instance of such a thing ever happening. Read More >>

The World’s First Drug to Prevent Migraines Has Just Been Approved

On Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug explicitly developed to prevent migraines. But while the drug may signal a new wave of effective treatments for this debilitating — yet often ignored and dismissed — medical condition, there are still questions as to how many migraine sufferers will actually be able to afford it in the US. Read More >>

giz asks
Why Does Exercise Start Hurting Two Days After a Workout?

If you’ve decided, this year, to start working out, you might have noticed a strange phenomenon: You’ll leave the gym feeling fine, and then two days later wake up sore. This weird time-lag appears unique to exercise, and is, when you think about it, kind of inexplicable—like stubbing your toe, feeling nothing, and then two days later suddenly yelping in pain. Read More >>

watch this
Here are the Most Painful Things That a Human Can Physically Feel

Of course, there’s a level of subjectivity to pain. One person might find listening to Kid Rock to be more painful than stubbing their toe. Another person might enjoy a little bit of pain. And who can say how painful heartbreak feels? But we can still generally identify most of the worst sensations that people don’t ever want to experience. Read More >>

virtual reality
VR Pain Relief: Dentists Using Virtual Worlds To Distract From Real Agony

Dental work is often agony, even with that pain relief they claim to give you - so anything that can reduce it would be welcome. VR, apparently, is the answer, with patients being given one of three scenes to enjoy. Read More >>

This Brain Scanning Technique Can Measure Your Baby’s Pain

Babies can’t tell us how much pain they’re in, which poses a problem for healthcare practitioners who are trying to manage their care. A new technique that uses non-invasive brain scans overcomes this frustrating limitation by providing what may be the first objective measure of infant pain. Read More >>

Watching a Man Sting Himself With the Most Painful Insect on Earth Will Give You Nightmares

What’s a few minutes of internet fame worth to you? Would you eat something gross? Would you risk your life flying down a mountain in a wingsuit? Or would you go so far as to let a bullet ant — the insect with the most painfully potent venom on Earth — purposely bite you? Read More >>

The Placebo Effect Works Even When People Know the Pills Are Fake

Deception is necessary for placebo pills to work, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. A surprising new study on patients with chronic back pain shows that we still experience the placebo effect, even when we know we’re being tricked. Read More >>

Arty Robot Can Decide if Hurting You is a Good Idea or Not

A half-roboticist, half-scientist man has created a robot with feelings of a sort, one that can decide whether or not to hurt a human -- and adjust its responses accordingly. Read More >>

Suffering For Science: Why I Have Insects Sting Me To Create A Pain Index

Over the past 40 years (but in reality since I was five years old), I’ve been fascinated with insects and their ability to sting and cause pain. In graduate school, I became interested in why they sting and why stings from such tiny animals hurt so much. Read More >>

This is How Your Brain Shifts From Pain to Pleasure

It’s a common phenomenon: a touch that normally feels a bit painful can feel much nicer when you’re sexually aroused. Read More >>