The Countdown Is On: The Most Popular Content on RELIEF in 2019

2019 RELIEF year in review

A two-part feature article on differences between the sexes in the pain system takes the number one spot. Image credit: picmax13/123RF Stock Photo.

What stories were you, our readers, taking note of on RELIEF in 2019? As the year winds to a close, it’s a great time to take stock of our coverage of pain research over the past 12 months. So get ready for a Top 10 list of the most popular content published on the site during that time.

Grabbing the number one spot in the Top 10 is a feature article exploring sex differences in chronic pain. This two-parter described how the pain system differs in male vs. female animals, and in women vs. men, focusing on the contribution of hormones, peptides, immune cells, naturally occurring opioids and the response to opioid drugs.

Speaking of immune cells, taking the number two spot in the Top 10 is another feature article–this time it’s a “Pain 101” focusing on how a class of immune cells called microglia contribute to chronic pain. It turns out that these cells play a crucial role by communicating with pain-sensing neurons.

Take a look below at the full Top 10 list. And stay tuned for more coverage of the best in pain research in 2020 and beyond…

In the meantime, best wishes from the RELIEF staff for the holiday season and New Year!

Top 10 RELIEF content in 2019

1. Men and Women, Male and Female Animals: What’s the Deal with Sex Differences in Chronic Pain? (15 Oct 2019)
Researchers are identifying the biological basis for differences between the sexes when it comes to the development of chronic pain, both in people and in rodents. The payoff for a better understanding could one day be huge for patients.

2. Pain 101: How the Immune System Influences Chronic Pain (19 Nov 2018)
Microglia emerge as important players in the communication between immune cells and nerve cells.

3. When Touch Turns to Pain (22 Jan 2019)
New research points to the protein Piezo2 as the culprit for allodynia.

4. Neurons Go Haywire During Pain From Nerve Injury (1 Jul 2019)
A new study uses nerve cells from patients with spinal tumors to identify changes in the nervous system underlying neuropathic pain.

5. Pain 101—Neuropathic Pain: One Size Does Not Fit All (24 Apr 2019)
Pain researchers increasingly recognize that people with pain from nerve injury are not all alike; patient stratification could be the path to better diagnosis and treatment

6. How Sleep Affects Pain (11 Jun 2019)
A recent brain imaging study shows that sleep deprivation increases pain sensitivity.

7. How Antidepressants Ease Pain from Nerve Injury (20 Mar 2019)
A new study identifies two different ways in which antidepressant medications can help improve neuropathic pain.

8. Opioids and the Brain: What We Knew, What We Know Now, and What the Future Could Look Like (6 Feb 2019)
At the 2018 IASP World Congress on Pain, Jane Ballantyne advocated for the use of non-drug therapies that engage the body’s own opioid system to manage chronic pain.

9. A Complementary and Integrative Approach to Easing Pain: A Podcast with Helene Langevin (18 Sep 2019)
In this RELIEF podcast, the director of the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health discusses the work the agency is doing, her own research on connective tissue, and much more.

10. Pain Biomarkers: What Are They, Why Do They Matter, and How Can Patients Benefit from Them? (22 May 2019)
Pain research leaders convene to discuss the promise of objective measures of pain in people.