Finding what you want on the Internet can be a pain. Now finding pain itself on the Internet has become considerably easier, thanks to Dr Andrew Moore and his colleagues at the pain research unit of Churchill Hospital, Headington, and the people who brought you Bandolier.
The format of the Oxford Pain Internet Site follows closely on that of its parent publication. Each succinct and well-written summary reviewing a particular intervention for acute or chronic pain takes no more than five minutes to read, and is headed by a 'clinical bottom line' offering an instant verdict.
So, click on 'transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in postoperative pain' and you are immediately told: 'Clinical bottom line: TENS is not effective in the relief of postoperative pain. Patients should be offered effective methods of pain relief.' Then it tells you the source of the systematic review and the research findings.
There is also a league table of analgesics, expressed as 'numbers needed to treat' to achieve at least 50 per cent pain relief over four to six hours, and there are plans to include information on gastroenterology, adverse drug reactions, healthy living and the issues of risk in future, with asthma another possible for the future.
More information about Dr Moore and his team can be found at the Pain Research in Oxford site, which is one of a surprisingly small number of web-based resources in the UK to deal comprehensively with the issue. As a search of OMNI shows, most concentrate on specifics such as 'pain in sickle cell disease' or 'pain in cancer'.
Perhaps the only other useful source of wide-ranging information is the BMJ pain collection, which takes you straight to the source material from its stable of titles. But for an assessment of what it all means, you will still need to go back to Oxford.
These and other sites of interest can be reached via HSJ 's website at www.hsj.co.uk