John Quintner, Professor Milton Cohen and Dr Geoffrey Bove recently published a very controversial review – A critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon. Their article aims to show the hypothesis – “Myofascial Pain arising from Trigger Points” – formulated in the 1980s by Travell and Simons, is ‘flawed both in reasoning and in science’.
Being closely aquainted to John (albeit via cyberspace), I sought a patient’s explanation. What does this mean for me and others with chronic pain erroneously attributed to myofascial trigger points?
How many years have you been practising and researching chronic pain?
I commenced my career in rheumatology in 1975. My interest in chronic pain dates from 1985, when I admitted to myself that I had no idea about what was then being called “RSI”. Without a research background I was left with no other option but to learn “on the job”. I remember that some of my rheumatology colleagues would laugh at those of us who were making a serious effort to understand these conditions. But these were extraordinary times when a fierce debate over the validity of “RSI” as a compensable condition was raging across Australia.
Do you believe pain will be explained one day?
The short answer is NO. Attempting to explain the experience of pain is inextricably linked to our inability to explain consciousness. You could ask if we will ever explain LOVE and I would give you the same answer.
What might your research mean for someone with chronic pain?
Along with those with whom I have collaborated, and the list includes Professor Milton Cohen, Mr Robert Elvey and Dr Geoffrey Bove, my research has been aimed at shining the torch of critical scientific inquiry upon a number of complex and poorly understood conditions. From our attempts to do so, I hope that in some small way we have helped people in chronic pain to avoid the stigma that is so often conferred upon them by members of our society, including their well-meaning medical and other health professionals. Continue Reading