Delighted to see a post about pain.
My particular area of interest is human pain- specifically chronic pain.
Has anyone ever done a proper trial (with independent funding!) of the methods proposed by James Pennebaker, John Sarno, Howard Schubiner, Alan Gordon or (my personal favourite- it worked for me) David Hanscom?
I saw that Scott Alexander asked for volunteers for a trial here : https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/06/26/book-review-unlearn-your-pain/
"Part of me is tempted to recommend Unlearn Your Pain to my patients on the same principle. And if any readers of this blog have chronic pain and want to try the month-long self-help therapy course in this book, I would be very interested in hearing back from you (please tell me before you start, so that there aren’t response biases). "
But I don't know if anyone ever took him up on the offer.
The actual treatment costs are virtually zero, so if these methods work (even partially) they could potentially save a large number of those 65 million disability years that have been calculated as lost to chronic pain as well as the misery. It's the ultimate effective altruism project. Surely someone who reads this has the authority and cash to get a proper trial done?
I used a method by Dr David Hanscom to cure chronic pain and it worked (spectacularly) for me and several other people. I would like to run a trial to see if I can get some solid data on whether something we don't fully understand could nevertheless help millions of people with severe, long term pain.
No "boosterism", I'm not going into this to "prove" it works but to find out.
If you've got free time, I would love to have you onboard- I need to contact pain groups and influential people who can help, such as Scott Alexander, Julie Rehmeyer, Andreas Gobel, Isobel Whitcomb, Julia Wilde, Nick Whitaker etc, and basically form an online team to work together on this project- with someone like Andrew Gilman to advise on methodology.
I would then need to run the experiment and collate the results- the method is completely free, takes 5 minutes and sounds completely wacky.
But, if you're here, I assume you're a Feynman fan- https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/W9rJv26sxs4g2B9bL/transcript-richard-feynman-on-why-questions
If we look at Ignaz Semmelweiss https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis we can see that not all ideas are treated equally.
If you're at all interested by this, but have questions, please get in touch. If you're (understandably) sceptical, please find someone you know with chronic pain and ask them if they've got 5 minutes to help you decide what path to go down. If it works for them, please tell me- also if it doesn't.
Yes, some interesting thought experiments. Here's another- imagine there is a method that cures chronic pain, we don't know why because we don't know enough neuroscience and psychiatry (yet). The method may have been proposed by James Pennebaker, John Sarno, Howard Schubiner, Alan Gordon or (my personal favourite- it worked for me) David Hanscom but we don't know because we haven't done any trials because all these ideas sound crazy and none of us want to be linked with something that sounds crazy.
So it's possible we have the solution (or a solution for some/many/most- who knows) people but noone can organize a proper trial- would this not be a good practical way to make the world a better place? Who's in?
I don't know if you've seen Peter Singer's thought experiment of the girl in China?
Here's another thought experiment- imagine there's a way to cure millions of people of their pain for free but because it sounds a bit wacky you just refuse to try it- step over their bodies and carry on walking down the road. You wouldn't, would you?
here's Richard Feynman explaining that you can't make assumptions about the world- you have to test them. http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/607/2/Feynman.pdf
It's not a useful tool if noone has heard of it...
And it's not optimistic, it's factual, evidence based- I've done it now on 7 people and I've basically run out of people I know with pain- does anyone out there know anyone with chronic pain who would be willing to give this a try? If so, please get in touch so I can keep a tally of the results.
Have you tried it? It would take a few minutes of your time and it's really a win-win- either it works (as it did for me) and your pain goes away or it fails and you get to call me out as a charlatan and a hoaxer with actual data rather than just a prejudice- hope to hear from you soon! Both here and on the substack.
ok but without anecdotes we can' t even try new things, which is the basic criticism of EA I was making in my post. There are many people (how many? who knows?) who have been helped by these methods, we're fairly sure our current ideas about pain are wrong.
and yet we're unable to move forward and try something new.
Have a look at this man talking about his journey away from pain and then tell me it's not worth our time investigating. It's 6 minutes of your life, from 2.54 to 9.00
And, as I said before, please feel free to try the "method" and , if it really doesn't work for you, call me out and say it didn't work- but don't tell me it won't work before trying it because that's even worse than anecdata.
You also say I don't link to any research, but there are a few links on my post(which I'll repeat here) which I think are interesting:
Why things hurt Lorimer Moseley
Dr Hanscom at google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5cwZ2iu8jU&t=2327s
Dr Howard Schubiner at google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VyH1laOd2M&t=1052s
2 articles in slate
Lorimer Moseley on pain https://trustmephysiotherapy.com/50-shades-of-pain-with-lorimer-moseley/
Another blistering talk on back pain here- how to understand and control your pain Dr Stuart McGill
and the history of expressive writing. James W Pennebaker talking to Jordan Peterson
I would say the evidence here is enough to justify spending money on a trial to get the research!
Yes, it might only work for some people- what I would like to know is whether those "some people" are 5%, 10%, 50% or 90%- that would tell us how many of the 65 million disability years could be saved. And when I went to the doctor and physiotherapist, CBT and mind-body wern't mentioned- just painkillers and anti- inflammatories- and lots of exercises, which I've detailed here: https://stuartwiffin.substack.com/p/fascia-and-lower-back?s=w
So, data! I posted this as a reply to another post:
I saw that Scott asked for volunteers for a trial here : https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/06/26/book-review-unlearn-your-pain/
But I don't know if anyone ever took him up on the offer. The actual treatment costs are virtually zero, so if these methods work (partially?) they could potentially save a large number of those 65 million disability years. It's the ultimate effective altruism project. Surely someone who reads this has the authority and cash to get a proper trial done?
As Guy points out, I don't link to any research because I can't find any- let's do some!