Medical Musings, Health Hypotheses & Therapeutic Thoughts
This interesting article from the Conversation looks at recent findings regarding autoantibodies and chronic pain.
While a little heavy, it is not written for specialists and well worth a look.
TL;DR: Chronic pain has long thought to be due to the way your brain perceives pain signals, but recent research has indicated abnormal peripheral (rather than central) nerve and immune activity may contribute to some types of chronic pain. This may give us new ways to treat these conditions.
By the way, if you do not yet read The Conversation give it a look. It is a forum where the contributors are drawn from the fields about which they talk. Teachers, scientists, researchers, academics etc. all write topical pieces in which they give an expert perspective on current affairs and developments. Authors must disclose all funding and conflicts of interest.
Some if you will have heard my views on Paleo living, which have nothing to do with the contents of the diet, but that it's essentially based on conjectured history; and you can't extrapolate from contemporary societies such as the San of the Kalahari to our ancestors.
Any neat, replicable diet is unlikely to reflect historical and evolutionary diversity. However, it has been a long time since my Anthropology degree; Ken Sayers explains it more eloquently (and learnedly).
"...Simple characterizations of hominid ecology are divorced from the actual, and wonderful, complexity of our shared history. The recent addition of pastoral and agricultural products to many modern human diets — for which we have rapidly evolved physiological adaptations — is but one extension of an ancient imperative. Hominids didn’t spread first across Africa, and then the entire globe, by utilizing just one foraging strategy or sticking to a precise mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We did it by being ever so flexible, both socially and ecologically, and always searching for the greener grass (metaphorically), or riper fruit (literally). "
The Real Paleo Diet - early hominids ate just about everything
Again, take a bit of time to have a browse of the Conversation, some interesting journalism.
A recent study has focused on physical and psychosocial factors that might increase risk of low back injury.
While some of the results are seemingly obvious (such as risk of injury being 2.7 times higher following "moderate to vigorous exercise"; or twenty five times higher after being distracted during an activity), others are less so.
Age is also a factor in risk of injury, and not in the way you might think - young people are significantly more likely to have an episode of acute low back pain after heavy lifting than older - perhaps wiser?? - people. Those old sayings about "lift with your head, not with your back" win out again!
Age also modified "the effect of exposure to... ...sexual activity", as the authors tactfully put it; meaning oldies were less likely to injure themselves engaged in the horizontal tango. No comment on that.
One result of the number-crunching was something not seen in this type of research before: the highest risk of developing low back pain is between 7am and midday.
TL;DR Range of psychosocial and physical factors increase risk of new episode of low back pain. Age and time of day also make a difference.