We’ve been working with Dr Jackie Walumbe, an honorary post-doctoral research fellow and pain physiotherapist, whose PhD investigates the gap between current pain management practices in the NHS and the wider ‘socio-material entanglements and relational aspects of living with chronic pain’.
Chronic pain means any kind of long-term pain. One in three people in the UK live with it.
To help bring this research to life we collaborated with animation puppet maker Rachael Olga Lloyd to develop a short video that told the story of chronic pain and the potential for reimagining pain care through handcrafts, folklore, wool, cats – and beards!
We started with two directions, one looking at the world of chronic pain through different people’s experiences, and the other using the metaphor of the car as a vehicle to understand what chronic pain can feel like.
Through creative conversations we developed a final script that used house plants and urban life as a container to ask healthcare specialists to change pain management into pain care.
The script was written through the perspective of three different people who all have chronic pain. At the moment, chronic pain is treated through pain management programmes which often start with pain medication. But while this works for some people it often fails and in the long run it doesn’t really help people live their lives.
The problem is that people have varying kinds of pain and experience it differently. And – as pain is invisible – it can be difficult for people to describe.
This leaves many people with chronic pain feeling misunderstood and overwhelmed.
That’s why we want our health care services to change pain ‘management’ to pain ‘care’.
We’ve found that people benefit from a holistic approach, involving not just physical and mental help, but social and community support too.
The animation doesn’t promise that pain will go away but it does say that pain care can help make life better for those with chronic pain.
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