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The Fight Against Pain - a Report on Pain by USA Today and ABC


Updated May 20, 2005

"A Brief History of Pain" (ABC):

Did you know that willow tree is an ancient remedy for pain that provides the essential ingredient for asprin? Or that the word "pain" orginated from mythology based on the "punishment of mortal fools who had angered the gods"?

ABC's "A Brief History of Pain" is an anthropological comparison of the treatment of pain then and now. It describes the attitudes of pain management throughout the ages, and compares the similarities of ancient remedies with treatment protocols in use today.

"Soothing Advice for the Low Back" (USA Today):

"Soothing Advice for the Lower Back" is a well researched article that describes why activity and not bedrest is the best medicine for most low back problems.

"Pain Quiz" (USA Today):

The Pain Quiz asks about your chronic and recurrent pain: how severe it is, what (if any) type of medication you take for it, and other questions. It then compares those answers with people in your demographic who answer the poll questions. Taking the quiz is a good way to ballpark where you are in relation to everyone else when it comes to the experience of pain. It also shows, in a general way, the current pain trend in our society.

"The Science of Pain" (USA Today):

The "Science of Pain" is an excellent illustrated explanation of the complex topic of pain physiology. This highly graphical, and slightly animated presentation clarifies how sensation of pain is created and interpreted in the body.

Chat (USA Today):

"The Fight Against Pain" offered chats each day this week on various topics relating to pain management. The first chat was with Dr. Frederick Burgess. Callers presented many specific questions about back pain.

The doctor's answers had to be general. In light of that, he did a good job of being as specific as possible with each of the conditions presented to him. To his credit, Dr. Burgess considered a wide range of modalities, including alternative medicine.

"Chronic Pain: The Enemy Within":

"Chronic Pain: The Enemy Within" was also published in the hard copy edition of USA Today. It is best read in conjunction with "The Science of Pain" online (not the chat).

The article provides an excellent explanation of how chronic pain is developed in the body. Additionally, it personalizes the subject with examples. It widens the scope of coverage by looking at how diagnosis and treatment happen (or don't happen), and what the future holds for pain medicine.

"Believing Babies Feel Pain" (USA Today):

Boy have we come a long way! According to "Believing Babies Feel Pain", up until very recently in medical history, the assumption was that babies could not feel pain, and that surgeries on infants should be done without anesthesia! Because of the work of K.J.S. Anand, that has all changed now, and the lives of many more babies are being saved due to the use of anesthesia.

Week-Long Coverage of Pain:

This review was of Monday's coverage only. Remember, this special series will be happening all week on USA Today's website .

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