Recently I was interviewed by Rachael from Physiopedia and Physiospot. We discussed some of the areas I feel are important in tackling the problem of pain, in particular chronic pain.
Primarily the topic focus was the psychosocial aspects of pain, an area that has provoked increasing interest. The word is often used but I find in practice that the social or societal influences upon pain are rarely included in a treatment programme. The most obvious example is the way in which a couple live and interact and how this impacts upon pain. Culture and gender both play a significant role in how pain is perceived, experienced and treated.
Of course the psychosocial elements are not in isolation to the physical and in fact I would argue that they are as biological as movement or nociception. All our experiences are constructed by the brain and involve neuronal activity driven by chemicals.
The understanding of pain sciences has moved on dramatically over the past 5-10 years but sadly the management trails behind, held back by old fashioned thinking and views based on out-dated thinking. We have an obligation to reconceptualise the way we deal with pain because the information exists and there are vast numbers of people who need to know that they can both control and change their pain.