All stressed out – stress fractures in marathon runners | Guest blog

London Marathon

Dr Cath Spencer-Smith writes… Marathon season is upon us, and thousands of runners throughout the land are in the final stages of training for their big day. For some, this is also the time when they find themselves experiencing new aches and pains. Whilst we may all expect to feel discomfort and stiffness from time […]

Early messages about pain

Our immediate and early thoughts about an injury or pain that we feel can have a significant impact upon how we cope and manage the problem. It is therefore vital that we have a really good understanding of what is normal and what we can do to optimise the conditions for healing. Within this early experience, the […]

Fibromyalgia and the autonomic nervous system

Chronic pain treatment programmes

Several recent papers have looked at the autonomic nervous system in fibromyalgia – see below Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2013 Mar;33(2):83-91. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12000. Epub 2012 Nov 4. Autonomic nervous system profile in fibromyalgia patients and its modulation by exercise: a mini review. Kulshreshtha P, Deepak KK. This review imparts an impressionistic tone to our current […]

Sculpting brain and behaviour

Pain beliefs

Sara Asnaghi Sculpture artists interpret life and create physical representations in response. Sculpting is a term I like to use when thinking about changing someone’s pain experience, i.e. pain relief. Pain is a response. It is emergent from the self, underpinned by activity in the brain and ‘felt’ in the body area requiring our attention […]

Women and pain 2 | Endometriosis

Women and pain 2 | Endometriosis

This is the second part in a series highlighting common painful problems that I see in women (Part 1 here). Endometriosis would not usually the reason for the referral, however this problem can often be mentioned as we talk about painful problems that are seemingly unrelated. To the individual, endometriosis can significantly affect quality of life, […]

Enhancing performance with imagery

We can improve our performance with visualisation. By stimulating the neuronal activity in the brain, you are rehearsing to improve the efficiency of firing and communication between the brain cells and diminishing any threat value. Combining practice with imagery is a potent way of tackling the stress associated with a particular task (e.g./ a speech, […]

Feel good in the New Year – here’s some simple tips


Facing the ups and downs of life is a normal part of the ride. Clearly some individuals will face steeper challenges than others. How we tackle these problems will vary according to what we know, our coping skills and resilience at that particular time. From where do the ways in which we deal with these […]

Top 5 tips I’ve given to patients this year

There are a number of key messages that I deliver to patients during their programme I see this as ‘drip feeding’ vital information that changes the perception of threat and hence alters the way in which pain is experienced. We know that understanding pain has a very real benefit by changing the meaning of the […]

What does your pain mean to you? Learning from the #Messi injury

Lionel Messi

“I sincerely thought it was the last ball I would be touching for a long time because of the pain,” Messi said. “I tried to go ahead and shoot but I didn’t have the strength.” Last week Lionel Messi, arguably the World’s best footballer, thought that his career had come to an end with a […]

A brief mindfulness exercise: just a few moments to foster clarity

Stress and pain

There are significant health and performance-based benefits that come from brief periods of mindful practice during the day including: An ability to focus with clarity Avoid being ‘bogged down’ by negative thinking Emotional regulation Clear thinking Emotional intelligence Awareness of self and others (empathy) Reduced feelings of anxiety and tension Tackle stress Pain relief Improved […]