Some strong words about pain

Here are some strong words about pain because this is what drives the UP | understand pain campaign. Chronic pain is the number one global health burden — it costs us the most and then consider the personal cost and suffering endured by each individual. We are not just talking about musculoskeletal pain (e.g., back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis etc.) but all pain: headaches, migraines, pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer related pain, pain related to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and all the other situations in which we hurt and can continue to suffer.

Traditionally the search for the reasons for pain consisted of looking for a pathology, an injury or other structural explanation in the body. The biomedical model needs something to find, something to see with the naked eye or on a scan. Pain can never be seen.

Pain is the ultimate example of a conscious experience, and conscious experiences are built by the individual based on a number of factors that are biological, psychological and sociological. Typically it is the biology that is focused upon with some psychology, which means that the biopsychosocial model purported for some years now, is not really used except in name.

The reality is that you cannot separate these dimensions. How is psychology not biological or sociological? How is biology not psychological? It makes no sense to divide what is a lived experience, a first person experience that embraces the unification of thoughts, perceptions and actions. Fortunately for society, there is a model that is most likely to be able to reflect this unification and the research needed to test the model is going to be supported by the UP campaign (charity-to-be).

As society has evolved so has our pain. Chronic pain is a societal phenomenon — on certain parts of the world, back pain did not exist until the concept was introduced by modern healthcare. That is a societal issue, not a medical issue. And by this regard, society needs a shift to support a new understanding of pain to relieve that very society of this on-going pain problem. This is not a medical problem. As time moves away from the initiation of the pain experience, it shifts rapidly towards the need for a sociopsychological model — what does the person in pain need to understand? What do they need to do? How do they engage with their family? How do they engage with their work? How do they communicate their pain? What actions do they need to take day to day to get better?

This is a public health problem that needs addressing as such. It is not dramatic to say that world leaders and policy makers need to be having conversations about the health problem that costs the globe the most and taking action now. It is absurd that the main reason for seeking help, the vehicle taking people to healthcare is frequently pain. How much formal training do healthcare professionals receive?

The passion behind UP | understand pain emerges from the absolute need for an enforced change from the bottom up. Society needs to be instrumental in the change for its own good and so this is where UP is taking the campaign. To the people. The voice of the people to enforce the necessary change.

This weekend UP has a team at The Royal Parks 1/2 Marathon, raising funds that will be the foundation for all that is described above. So join us and spread the word as we raise the profile of this problem into the consciousness of society for action to be taken now.

Join us on Twitter @upandsing using #upandrun

#upandsing T5 Heathrow Sat 25th June

Tomorrow is the 3rd #upandsing event at London Heathrow T5, so if you are working or passing through, come and see the show! There will be hundreds of singers once again, entertaining the passengers and staff at Terminal 5 from 1030 in the morning until 4pm. It’s a marathon sing song! And what better way to be uplifted than with music and singing.

The last two events in 2015 were both great fun days as well as opportunities to deliver the UP | understand pain messages. Chronic pain is one of the largest health burdens. The personal suffering and cost to society is enormous, yet many people do not realise this fact. Recent figures suggest over 40% of the population suffer pain beyond 3 months, a timeline that is deemed to be chronic. Whilst there is much more to it than a timeline, this figure demonstrates the enormity of the issue that needs addressing urgently.

One of the main contributing factors to this vast problem is the misunderstanding of pain in society. The UP campaign seeks to address this aspect by providing the latest information and thinking about pain. One of the reasons for raising money is to develop this website into a great resource for people across the world to access freely and learn both about pain but also what they can do to change their pain. Further, we are in the process of designing the best structure to apply for charity status so that we can fundraise to support important research and studies into pain so that understanding and treatment continues to advance.

Pain touches so many people across society. Pain is indiscriminate. It does not receive the attention or funding in proportion to the scale of the issue. So many conditions involve painful experiences and so many people experience pain without any serious condition, together making for the seismic impact that it has across the globe.

Please share and spread the word! Follow us on twitter @upandsing and see us on Facebook (a new page has been created today!). You will see picture and videos uploaded from tomorrow’s event, so you can share these with friends and colleagues, knowing that pain can and does change when you understand it and know what you can do.

UP in the news

UPYesterday The Basingstoke Gazette published an article about the UP event tomorrow at Heathrow (Sat 24th October 2015). We are very excited about this second huge sing-song as the members of Rock Choir get ready to belt out the tunes all day at T5, London Heathrow. We will be filing the event and sharing the footage after the event, so you won’t miss out on the fun.

Read the article here

Pain-ting | send us your drawings ‘what is pain?’

Pain-tingWe are designing a book that will be illustrated by children’s pictures of what they think of pain. As part of our awareness and action campaign to tackle the problem of chronic pain, the book will tell stories about how people have overcome their pain and problems to lead meaningful lives. We hope that this will inspire others to learn the facts about their pain and see how they can move forwards.

Tweet your pictures @upandsing or email them to us

Co-founder of UP Georgie Standage interviewed on BBC radio

Georgie Standage
Georgie Standage

Before the UP launch yesterday, Georgie was interviewed on BBC radio talking about how she has overcome complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) to lead a full and meaningful life.

Georgie was in full swing as she and the other choir leaders directed their members to perform the most uplifting sets through the day at Heathrow Terminal 5. It was an incredible day.

You can listen to the interview here at 2’08.

UP | Understanding Pain launch a massive success!

UP and Rock ChoirOn Saturday we held our launch event at LondonHeathrow Terminal 5 with over 700 Rock Choir singers performing favourite songs. It was an incredible day as the music created a powerful voice to raise awareness for chronic pain, the number one global health burden. UP is not just about telling the world that pain is a problem though, we are passionately spreading messages about how you CAN overcome pain, even in the direst of situations. No-one illustrates this better than my co-founder, Georgie Standage, who now leads the fullest life having worked with tremendous effort to overcome complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Yesterday was no exception as Georgie was interviewed on BBC radio yesterday morning and then on itv news just before leading her choir at our mammoth event.

The epic centrepiece was the positioning of the choirs across the walkway creating the most amazing sound. This was also a great opportunity for me to address the 700 singers and the audience about why we were there. I simply pointed out that chronic pain is the number one global health burden, a fact that no-one knew, and that now we understand pain so that we can give the right messages to sufferers so that the right action can be taken to overcome their pain. The biggest issue is the misunderstanding of pain, which means that people are not receiving the facts about their pain and hence struggle to move forward, often becoming increasingly limited in their lives. We argue that this does not need to be the case when people understand their pain and then know how to use this knowledge practically so that they can restore a meaningful life.

UP chronic pain awareness dayPeople were so very generous and donated money that we are putting towards the next event as we build the momentum to challenge the status quo in pain, and drive our mission forwards with passion and music. We are also planning to run a series of coaching programmes so that we can make the knowledge and skills available for sufferers and their carers.

This was the most amazing way to start our campaign. But this is just the beginning. From here we will pursue our mission with increasing passion and gusto inspired by the immense support we have received — Facebook, Twitter and You Tube has been saturated with incredible messages and comments, showing how pain affects everyone somehow.

It is time to make serious changes in how people think about pain across the board. The practice in healthcare is simply too far behind what we know, and at UP we are determined to close this gap.

Please show your support by spreading the word! Tweet us @upandsing and like us on Facebook.