Talking pain with Pete

Pain Coach + Pain Toolkit getting together to deliver the RIGHT messages about chronic pain

This is the first of a series of conversations about pain. Pete’s 5 question challenge:

  • how did you get into pain?
  • what about people looking for a quick fix?
  • what questions should patients ask me?
  • is social media useful?
  • what is the future for pain management?

A series of chats coming soon. Enjoy!

Pain in Spain

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Keynote at the Congreso Fisio 2018

IX UMH Physiotherapy Congress 2018, Alicante

There were several remarkable things about the UMH Physiotherapy Congress in Alicante last week, which I will share below. Before though, I want to state that without doubt, the organisers created a meeting that universities around the globe should seek to emulate. This was a conference that was professionally co-ordinated, filled to the brim with great and varied content, smoothly run, and was attended by an enthusiastic, passionate, sizeable group of 420 professionals and students. The success emerged from the co-ordinated efforts of many individuals, in particular Sergio Hernández Sánchez, Ellana Mckerrell and Roser Bel-lan Roldán.

I was delighted to be asked to speak to over 400 people at the main conference and then run a Pain Coach Workshop for professionals. This was an opportunity to share some of the latest thinking about the global problem of pain, and ideas about how we can go about driving social change together. On reviewing the statistics, it appears that the chronic pain numbers are slightly lower in Spain compared to the rest of Europe (16.6% and 20% respectively). Despite the mild difference, this still represents a major public health issue that needs urgent attention, with the costs estimated at 1.5% of GDP.

“The pain in Spain is mainly on the plain”

This was a conference of the highest quality. The topics, the speakers, the logistics, and the atmosphere were second to none. And what is so remarkable is that the conference was planned, organised and run by the physiotherapy students from UMH. This was as professional as it could be, and therefore the Congreso was a great success as far as I was concerned.

The Pain Coach Workshop was an UP (Understand Pain Social Enterprise) offering, allowing me to work with twenty five professionals who were keen to build on their knowledge and skills for chronic pain. The participants kindly shared their experiences and insights about chronic pain in Spain, and together we worked through a ‘lite’ version of the Pain Coach day.

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Pain definitions from the 5 minute challenge

With a handful of English speakers, we had a fantastic translation team, who really made the workshop happen. They were brilliant as we got into the rhythm of exchanges. In the three hours we looked at the vehicle of coaching as a means to deliver skills and knowledge, together with always seeking to get the best from both the individual and the clinician. From there, we considered a range of practices including those that seek to build wellness, address sensorimotor adaptations, reduce threat and sensitivity and to encourage people to live their best lives, whatever their circumstances. The emphasis of the Pain Coach is upon realising the choices we have in life and how we make the best ones to achieve success and results. The philosophy that runs through the programme is based upon knowledge, wisdom, and compassion.

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Translation in action at The Pain Coach Workshop

This was an important trip for several reasons. Firstly to make new friends in Spain so that we can build upon the successes and create future events that benefit individuals and society. Secondly, we have identified a need that we can meet together with education, encouragement and enablement at both the undergraduate and professional levels. And thirdly, we can tap into the passion that was so clearly expressed in the opening ceremony by Roser and Sergio, to move forwards in a positive and productive way.

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For information about keynotes and Pain Coach Workshops, please contact us: painphysiolondon@gmail.com

The Shape of Pain ~ a show about the pain of CRPS and relationships

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“One woman attempts to articulate her experience of physical pain. Pain with no apparent cause. Also, she’s met someone, and they want to make this work. Words and an original sound score combine to create an explosive dialogue about love and perception. An experiment in how we talk about pain – and if we ever do that in a way someone else can understand.” China Plate

To briefly set the scene, this is a one-woman show that attempts the most challenging of tasks, to communicate pain. For many years, I have listened to people as they try to describe their pain, providing an open forum for them to use their own words, descriptions and illustrations. Of course, none fully capture the lived experience and so we must acknowledge this limitation whilst absolutely validating what the person says. Carefully documenting the language, phrases and comparisons, we must treat the narrative with care and compassion, listening deeply and equally observing how the words are delivered—gestures, facial expressions and subtle posturing.

And so, The Shape of Pain seeks, in an experiential manner, to get over to the audience what it is like to be in pain of a chronic nature as a feature of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). For those who are unsure, CRPS can be a painful condition of an extreme nature. There are other signs and symptom as well, which out of necessity define it. There are many painful problems and we must be able to differentiate to deepen our understanding through enquiry. The Budapest Criteria set out to do just that.

For me, it was a remarkable performance by Hannah McPake, delivering the narrative with authentic emotion, seeking to engage the people in the room. I am not a theatre critic so I can only comment on the technical aspects as an amateur, so I will stop there. However, as a clinician with a purpose to drive social change with regards chronic pain, and as a member of the audience, I was somewhat torn between the two. Flitting in my (embodied) mind, just as when we were invited to explore our perception of the Necker cube, I was critically appraising the way pain was being described, then drawn to the sensory experience of being present and back again.

In a conversation afterwards with some of the people who had watched the play, there was a feeling that we had definitely had an experience. You are not simply sitting and watching. You are absorbed by force—the sounds, the stage, the lights, the performance, and the projection of the script on the panels, which to me represented the imprisonment that some perceive and describe as their sense of agency is seemingly squeezed from them. In the discussion group, we all appeared to subscribe to the idea of pain having a shape. Job done!

Knowing that people suffering with particular sensitivity, and that is not just those with CRPS, will react protectively as their brain predicts a possible danger, means that the play would likely be provocative of pain. This point is made clearly in the script, which you can purchase, and a reason for an actor playing the part because of the effects of the words. Many people have told me, usually when prompted, that watching someone move, thinking about movement, certain smells, sounds and other ‘stimuli’ bring on the pain. When you understand pain, you know why this happens and how very real it is, together with changes in the sense of size of the limb, perception of the world and the sense of self.

Chronic pain is the number one global health burden. There are huge financial costs for society to bear, and immeasurable suffering for individuals. With the numbers of people affected by what we can safely say is a public health issue of major concern, you would expect a play such as The Shape of Pain to be sold out in a sizeable theatre as society tries to gain a grip on the problem. The question at large is why, with the costs in the billions each year and the impact on social function, is there so little accurate and impacting coverage? Most articles describe pain in the wrong way, the ‘old way’, which is distinctly unhelpful at best, and at worst keeps people thinking the wrong way. At the moment I have no answer to that, but instead focus energies upon delivering the right messages and the latest understanding to those in need.

The Shape of Pain is a significant contributor to the narrative of the most impacting of pains. A main feature of the tale is relationships. That of the person embodying the pain with the pain, the person in pain with a loved partner, the person in pain with the audience, and all of these vice versa. Undoubtedly, with pain lurking and then dominating ‘me’, there is impact on relationships. We are social creatures and relationships are important for our health, whilst also being the source of great suffering if we are not careful and nurturing. It can be more challenging to nourish a relationship if you are suffering pain persistently, as the Shape demonstrates frankly, but equally one can gain strength.

I will not capture all the angles within this short blog. Yet I hope to transmit several key messages of hope whilst fully applauding the team behind this play. They have created a brilliant piece of intimate theatre in which you cannot fail to feel deeply engaged as you run from emotion to emotion until the rather disquieting, darkened end, which is wholly appropriate. However, in a selfish way, I am pleased that the venue is smallish and intimate, because you feel so much more ‘in the room’ with the character.

On hope, there has been great advance in our understanding of pain, primarily from the getting together of neuroscientists and philosophers. This has resulted in better questions, with new insights for answers that are most helpful in describing pain to people so that they can give meaning to their lived experience. From there, this understanding informs many practices and tools that can be used to manage the painful moments, and overall seek to improve one’s life with a clear direction and steps to take. We are designed to change, impermanence making life viable, with each moment unfolding as fresh and new. This in mind, we can choose an approach, establish our purpose and pursue it in the best way that we can.

Here are 5 facts about pain (there are many more):

  1. Pain (a subjective feeling state) and injury (objectively observable and measurable) are not the same and they are not well related
  2. Pain is part of the way we protect ourselves
  3. There is no pain centre in the brain. And there are no pain signals or pain chemicals. We have systems that have a role in protection and survival — e.g./ nervous system, sensorimotor system, immune system
  4. Pain is an inferred state that motivates us to take action to address a need in our body or our world
  5. Chronic pain does not ‘start’ at 3 months. The reasons why someone experiences on-going pain are more to do with prior life experiences of protection, genetics, early uncontrolled pain at the time of the incident and perhaps gender. There are and will be many more factors.

A brief summary of the modern approach to chronic pain

As I have said, the first step to successfully managing pain moments and carving a new way forward, is to understand your pain. This is how any programme should begin, with practical knowledge and ‘know-how’. To get results, we have to shift our thinking and approach as much as using the new and necessary practical tools and actions each day. This does not mean ‘you’ have to change as a person. Instead, you are encouraged to use your existing strengths and successful styles (you will have had many successes in life, overcoming challenges) to focus on your desired outcome and the steps to take.

There are specific exercises that need to be practiced in a dedicated manner, just like learning a musical instrument, general principles to follow to gradually engage with chosen and loved activities (getting into flow), and thinking tools to focus, create calm and build wellness, our greatest buffer to life’s ups and downs. The Pain Coach Programme contains all of these components together with many other tools and practices to draw upon to embody and live a meaningful life. There is not any single practice, instead an approach that embraces what we know about being a conscious human being.

Managing the painful moments with increasing skill transforms these episodes into opportunities to head in the chosen direction. Like learning to sail a boat, we learn a great deal when the waters get choppy, and we may even capsize! But then we can focus upon rolling the boat over again and setting sail towards that desired outcome. This may happen over and over, but we can choose an approach steeped in doing our very best as we seek to master ourselves. The principles of mastery certainly apply here. In facing these challenging moments as they arise, we create new habits, replacing those that do not work, but always in line with what we want to achieve. Stringing these together with the skills of being well and specific training, we can build a foundation of understanding, compassion (especially self), and know-how that can be built upon.

This is truly an exciting time as our learning gathers pace. My role and purpose is to be a conduit and distill the great work being done by many across the globe, into tangible and practical tools that each and every one of us can use to get the best results.

The Shape of Pain is on now at The Battersea Arts Centre (where I had some delicious potato wedges in the cafe!) until 10th March. If you are interested in pain or dramatic theatre or both, this is definitely worthwhile seeing. Note though, if you are a pain sufferer, it may be evocative for some of the reasons outlined above. In knowing this though, you may choose to go along for the ride.


For further information, contact me at painphysiolondon@gmail.com

Sense of self Conference

Who am I? 


For the next couple of days I will be immersed in conversations about the sense of self and consciousness ~ see here. This is becoming a bit of a ‘buzz’ area, and rightly so. This is something we need to really understand and draw into healthcare. We are, or should be, treating people and their unique lived experiences. The predominant thinking remains dualist and is condition-focused rather than viewing a whole person, their life, their prior experiences, their beliefs and how this informs ‘now’. 

Two of the best examples of conscious experiences are love and pain. In the moment of the phenomena, both absolutely dominate the ‘self’, the ‘me’. But what is the self? Some argue that the self does not exist. It is an illusion. I have some sympathy with this view because to answer the question of self, we must know where it exist ~ where is my ‘self’? And with different ‘selfs’, to which are we referring: physical self? Narrative self? Where is the ‘I’? It encompasses the whole person, but is this ‘I’ the same one that other’s experience? Whatever I consider to be my ‘self’ may not be the same that others perceive. 

“Where is your ‘self’?

For some years I have supported an approach that addresses the person as much, if not more, than the condition. This means that together we consider the continuous story that results in the present moment and the context within which the person’s pain exists. The person describes their pain but digging deeper reveals the suffering they endure, and the two are different. Suffering emerges from a loss of sense of self. We even use the phrase ‘I don’t feel myself’ to describe this loss and then ‘I feel myself again’ when we are complete once more. Therefore I maintain that in treating the whole person, we are seeking to restore their sense of self according to their definition of ‘me’. 

Treating a person so that they may feel a sense of complete self requires us to look at their unique causes of suffering. We can then design a bespoke programme that addresses the existing patterns by creating a new pathway, carving a way onward with new habits. A focus on what the person wants, their clarified vision of success, is vital as this provides a direction and reference point: am I thinking and acting in line with this picture? The decision to commit to this journey then becomes the day to day, moment to moment practices. 

The ‘I’ reference in a particular context is what we are treating. Gaining greater insight into this sense of self will help us to sharpen our messages (explanations) and tools. Together with our ever-increasing knowledge of pain, this becomes a potent force. We seek to deliver results by providing the means to carve that new pathway forward: both the tools and the know-how. This is the essence of Pain Coaching that taps into an individual’s vast potential to get better and live meaningfully, leaving behind concept of coping and management. This is about living well because we can by making certain choices. Pain Coach presents these choices to the person. 

The Sense of Self conference will enlighten this whole person approach. I look forward to bringing you cutting edge thinking and how we can use it to continue our pioneering work to change the way society thinks about and addresses pain. 

RS

A life of appointments

When life is dominated by the next appointment


Most people I see have a long story of pain. Frequently there has been years of suffering that has and does impact upon their life.  For some their days are strung together by appointment after appointment as they search for an answer to their pain. The key that unlocks that door is understanding pain. To understand pain is to know what you can do to move onward in a chosen direction. Undoubtedly, we can be successful in overcoming pain because it can and does change. We are constantly changing, like the water of a river, there is constant movement in one direction. Embracing and harnessing our potential enables us to live a meaningful life.

Whilst seeking an answer, there are always boundless doctors and therapists who offer solutions. Skipping the understanding bit and hastening to a remedy or treatment is often the way, yet the foundation is not in place. We must understand our pain to gain a sense of meaning, to know that we need not fear pain and instead to focus on certain practices and skills to enable change.

Expectations are typically low in chronic pain, which affect outcomes. The promise of success followed by yet another failure hits hard. Some people even blame themselves as the self-critic chips in. Developing self-compassion is a key skill as we learn to be patient with ourselves, let go of blame and focus on living well. To be harsh towards oneself is to provoke the same biological protection as when we feel pain. Of course our expectations are based on what we know, past experience and in the moment adjudication of the likelihood the treatment will work (based on what we already know again). In essence it is a prediction as is our current perception. The wonderful thing about being human is that we can change the prediction and infer something else. It is time to expect to get better. To expect that life will be full of challenges, but to expect to face them, learn and move on in a meaningful way. This starts with understanding pain.

One of the issues with on-going appointments is that the person maintains their focus on pain in their life. There is plenty more to define the person than their pain. What we focus upon we get more of, is a loose rule. If pain becomes dominant and rents much space in our conscious capacity, then there is little room for anything else. We must make space and while we are attending appointment after appointment, no space is being carved out. But I need the appointment because I must check and see if I have…….. etc, you may say. It is true that we must elimate any serious pathology or injury that necessitates repair, but beyond that, if the focus is upon living well and practicing such skills, then getting better is possible. The roundabout of consulting rooms is not.

~ pain and injury are not synonymous 

Regular readers know that pain and injury are not synonymous. They are different. And they are poorly related. We have known that for years yet the modern approach persists in a search for a structure or pathology to explain pain. There is no such thing as pain is a body, or whole person state. Like fear, like love, like hunger. You can see none of these because they are lived phenomena, experienced by a person and embodied by a person. A herniated disc, a disc bulge, an inflamed tendon, none are pain. Pain is a state of protect that emerges in the person in the face of perceived threat. Yes, these visible changes can co-exist with pain, of course. But they are not pain and not the cause of pain. The cause of pain is a perceived threat. It is how we and our body systems (they are not separate) interpret what is going on in our body but within the context of this moment (emotional state, environment, who we are with, what we are doing, prior events etc) that determines whether we feel pain or not. You will note from this description all the opportunities we have to change pain, because pain is part of me as much as my ears or my hair so it is mine to change. The change begins with understanding pain.

So, once you have seen the relevant specialists and determined that there is no serious pathology or injury that needs repair, and it has been confirmed that this is a problem of pain, then you can focus on getting better. This is through the practice of the skills of well-being whilst maintaining a course towards your picture of success, the healthy you with purpose.

Open space in your life to live well and be inspired to reach your potential, because you can.

RS ~

Henderson’s foot

Plantar fasciitis is a lot like a tendon problem

Foot prints. Vector watercolor illustration

Liverpool footballer Jordan Henderson is suffering plantar fasciitis. His manager, Jurgen Klopp, is monitoring his progress but cannot confirm whether Henderson will be able to play again this season ~ report here. Lower limb injuries and pain are an occupational hazard for footballers, particularly those who make a career from the game. Here are some important considerations.

Pain and injury

Pain and injury are not the same. Are you injured? Or does it just hurt? An injury can be from an inciting event such as a twist or contact with another player. Or it can a ‘slow burner’ when there is a gradual breakdown of tissue. The point that this is detected by the body systems that protect us and interpreted as dangerous is the pain moment. It can take a long time for this to brew into something conscious. You will note from this that there are at least a few layers of activity before we actually feel pain.

Pain and injury are poorly related. We have known this for many years both scientifically and anecdotally. Yet the predominate message in society through implicit thinking is that pain must be due to an injury. Then the search for a structure begins. Pain is a body state of protection, compelling us to take action. A motivator if you like. Pain is poorly related to the state of the tissues. Consider phantom limb pain when there is no limb yet there is pain in a space. The body systems and our brain, which has a significant role in all conscious experiences including pain, work on a just in case basis. Recognising patterns, drawing on past experiences and predicting what the sensory information currently suggests are all part of the processing that underlies our lived experience. Pain does not have a simple physical basis.

The injury moment

At the point when an actual injury occurs, the context plays a big role in what happens next, as does past experience. In this moment there is a rapid assessment of threat. If the weight of evidence suggests danger, then it will hurt. If something else is more important, such as escape or wanting to win the final, it is quite possible for the pain to be minimal or non-existent.

There are other factors that play a role in the processing: where am I? What am I doing? How am I feeling? Who am I with? Have I been here before? What does this mean?

The meaning of foot pain to Henderson is very different to the meaning for me. For me it would be unpleasant, inconvenient and prevent me from being as active as I might otherwise be. For Henderson, it means he cannot work, therefore impacting upon his career. This then, would be far more threatening and hence create a context for more protection. It would be similar if a violinist injured his or her left hand compared to the right. Meaning is key and must be considered.

Persistent pain

Problems that involve tendons, and we can include plantar fasciitis here, typically go on for months. There has been huge amounts of research and work undertaken to look at this problem, most of which has focused upon the tissues themselves. Whilst tissue health and tolerance for force is important, a much wider approach is needed starting with recognition that it is the person who feels pain. This being a fact, it points us towards addressing the person as much as the condition, and even more so thinking about how that person uniquely interacts with the condition. There is a key interface.

Most of the biology of pain is not where the pain is actually felt. Much like the film you watch in the cinema involves much more than the screen. The adaptations that occur in chronic pain are in the emotional centres of the brain, the connectivity between the thinking and planning areas and emotional centres, and in the sensory areas. We are more than a brain of course and all the habitual changes we observe and those that occur in the dark (e.g. neuroimmune) somehow emerge as a lived experience. This delves into questions of consciousness and self.

To address plantar fasciitis then, we need to think about a range of factors, beginning with the person’s understanding of their pain. This understanding sets the scene, reduces fear and promotes engagement in the training and practices needed to overcome the problem. We have to create the conditions for this to happen, which is why the person needs to focus on a clear direction and the means to achieve this. Fears, worries and anxieties will of course intervene, but the more quickly this energy can be transformed into the practices of well-being and specific training, the more efficient will be the recovery. Just as an insight, practices would include body sense training, proprioceptive training, nourishing movements and mobilisations, sensorimotor training, mindful practice, graded exercise (strength, endurance etc). But this is all based upon a mindset focused on success, so the practices of resilience and attention come into play. The aim is sustained learning and change to overcome the problem by facing it and transforming it, not trying to get around it by just using pills, injections and other means of avoidance.

Looking back through the story and knowing the person creates the opportunity to understand how the problem emerged in the case of a slow burner. An acute injury can also be analysed to discover if there were any factors increasing the vulnerability to injury and indeed vulnerability to develop a more persistent problem.

In summary, the bigger picture is always important. Considering the person as much as the condition and ensuring that pain is understood. Understanding pain is the key.

RS

5 ways a partner can support and encourage you

Chronic pain can be the source of huge strain upon a relationship. Partners and other people close to the suffering individual can be at a loss as to what they can do to help. Sometimes their assistance is welcomed and other times not. It can be confusing and stressful. There are many ways that a partner can help and some will be individual to those involved. Here are 5 simple ways that a partner can help:

Be an extra pair of ears and eyes

During consultations with specialists or therapists, it can be useful for a partner to come along. Beforehand you can decide upon their role. The possibilities include:

  • listening and note taking
  • offering observations about what has been happening
  • watching and learning exercises so that they can provide feedback at home
  • just being there for moral support

Sometimes having someone else in the room, even a loved one, can be distracting depending upon what is being practiced. So do discuss this with your clinician for the best outcome.

Understand pain

When your partner understands pain they will be able to further empathise and act through compassion rather than fear and worry. We do respond and are influenced by the people we are close to, meaning that if they have a working knowledge of pain they will better provide support and encouragement.

Pain can and does vary as each pain experience is as unique as each unfolding moment. Knowing that pain is related to perception of threat rather than tissue damage or injury, along with some of the main influences (e.g. emotional state, context, tiredness) helps to navigate a way forward. To overcome pain the person learns to coach themselves, making best choices in line with their picture of success. Sometimes we need help or someone to listen to us whilst making these choices.


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A hug

Touch is healthy, especially from a loved one. Someone recently told me about how a hug from her children relieved her pain. Why? The release of oxytocin for a starter. The feelings of compassion and love can cut through all other emotions and feelings, which is why the development of self-compassion is one of the key skills of well-being.

Sometimes a hug can be painful of course, depending on where you feel your pain. If this is the case, then simple touch somewhere else is enough. Seek to notice the good feelings that emerge in you: what do they feel like? Where do you feel them? Concentrate on them. And if you are not with that person, just imagine a hug or a loving touch. This triggers similar activity, just like when you think about that beautiful scene in nature, your body systems respond as if you are there ~ our thinking is embodied.

Practice the skills of well-being together

A good example is metta or loving kindness meditation that cultivates self-compassion. It is best to gain instruction 1:1 to start with and then use a recording as a prompt until you are familiar with the practice. Group practice is also good when the collective or community creates a soothing atmosphere in which to practice.

At home, practice metta with your partner. Doing it together, you form a bond as you spend meaningful time together. You can also practice the exercises together. These are nourishing and healthy movements with the purpose of restoring confidence as well as layering in good experiences of activity to overcome pain.

Spend time together doing something meaningful

We are designed to connect. The chemicals we release and experience as that feel-good factor, do so when we have meaningful interactions. Pain all too often appears to limit choice and our tolerance for activity. However, on thinking about what we CAN do rather than what we cannot, we begin to build and broaden the effects of choosing positive action.

Positive action is all about focusing on what we can do: e.g./ I can go for a coffee with a friend for half an hour to gain the benefits of connecting, moving, a change of scene etc. and I will concentrate on these benefits. Make some plans, working within your current tolerance level, knowing that you are safe to do so, and follow them through by keeping yourself pointed towards the picture of success*. You can then gradually build your tolerance by pushing a little with increasing confidence.

There are many other ways that a partner can be involved. The key is to communicate openly and make plans together ~ here is a great insight into communication by Thich Nhat Hanh.


* Clarifying your picture of success gives you a direction and the opportunity to check in and ask yourself: am I heading in that direction or am I being distracted?

Please note: Whilst the practices above can appear to be straightforward, you should always discuss your approaches with your healthcare professional

What research is UP supporting?

Pain being hugely complex and one of the greatest examples of a conscious experience means that we have many questions to answer. This includes an understanding of pain biology, pain psychology and the social dimension. Whilst all are important, it is the unification of these that is the lived experience, the phenomena of pain. This is what we must ultimately understand so that we can have a true working knowledge of what is going on and what we can do about it.

Hence we need a model that can deliver this depth of understanding and a basis for action. We are fortunate in that such work is going on as we speak, and it is this work that UP will be supporting. The yield will be the practical application of our knowledge about pain so that individuals can really know what they can do to move forward and overcome their pain. Such knowledge will also inform healthcare practice from the outset when a person presents with a pain problem — those initial messages are vital; they must be right as they often set the scene.

Chronic pain is the number one global health burden, which means that millions are suffering. This can change. This must change. This is the reason for UP.

Please support us in our mission and come and see us at The Royal Parks run on Sunday 9th October: http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/understandpain

We are on twitter @upandsing and our hashtag for the run is #upandrun

RS

UP for Hyde Park half marathon

On 9th October an UP team will be running the Hyde Park half marathon, raising awareness for the understand pain campaign. Following three successful singing events at Heathrow, we are moving forward by applying to become a charity. This will create a structure that enables us to fundraise so that we can support our work in delivering the right messages about pain, empowering individuals and educating health professionals globally.

The overarching aim of UP is to reduce the suffering endured by millions across the globe. A shift in thinking so that pain is understood will enable change in the right direction, whereby we live in a world where pain is not feared but instead addressed in the right way. This means we use the right language and communication with people, focus on their needs, listen to their story, respect their experience and create a way forward with the person. Not only does UP promote change in the right direction by understanding pain, but also how we can go about this in a compassionate fashion.

Here are our immediate plans:

  1. to create a brilliant website full of high quality content that will help individuals and society to understand pain and what can be done.
  2. to promote individual’s understanding of their pain and what influences their pain so that they can be empowered to overcome their problems and lead a meaningful life.
  3. to raise money to support a research project that will further our understanding of pain so that treatment can improve.

Much more to come!

The team are really looking forward to the half marathon, which will be a lot of fun. I think that there maybe a few surprises in the crowd to look out for and a few competitions on the day. Keep following us and share with friends, colleagues and family. We need your support so that we can spread the word and reach as far and as widely as we can!

If pain

IMG_2528If pain was understood, there would be less suffering.

If pain was understood, the right messages would be given from a young age, sculpting behaviours based on what needs to be done.

If pain was understood, there would be no fear about it.

If pain was understood, we would focus on what we can do to feel better.

If pain was understood, it would be known that listening deeply is the first step to help someone transform their pain.

If pain was understood, it would be known that understanding pain changes pain.

If pain was understood, there would be an enormous amount of money available for a better society.

If pain was understood, it would sit in the realm of public health and not medicine.

If pain was understood, there would not be the reliance on medication.

If pain was understood, what would the world be like?

— this is the mission of UP | understand pain; to globally change the understanding of pain, because put simply, the world would be a better place if pain were understood.

http://www.understandpain.com