By Andrew Moore in The Conversation.
I was a clumsy child and had more than my fair share of bumps and knocks. As a result, I was the recipient of a considerable amount of repetitive advice to “rub it better”. My younger self did not regard this as helpful; I wanted the pain gone, now.
A bit of a brat, perhaps, but if you ask people with pain – any kind of pain, be it acute pain after a fall or operation, a headache, or chronic pain like arthritis – what they want from treatment, it is the same as I wanted all those years ago. Pain gone, now.
There may be something in the idea that rubbing a painful area might actually help. We rub the skin over a painful area almost instinctively. Touch applied at particular frequency can be pleasant. And while there is research that shows that it might help, it is a big jump to demonstrate that rubbing alone is a useful treatment for pain if that pain is moderate or severe.
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