Explain pain through art, language and movement


Friday 17 May 2019


Venue Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
Organised by

Pain Medicine Section


CPD - Applied for

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about this event

Although healthcare professionals are taught communication skills, little emphasis is put on how explanations are given. A plausible clear explanation is of special importance for patients who have chronic pain which is invisible, subjective and poorly understood.  

Through the use of a multidisciplinary team, participants will have the opportunity to enhance their skills at providing meaningful explanations to their patients.

This event will start with a patient describing her experience of obtaining an explanation, and its impact on her ability to manage pain.

A Professor of Linguistics, Professor Elena Semino, will demonstrate the importance of words and metaphors to provide explanationsthis will be complimented by Professor Peter Salmon, a health psychologist who works in the field of medically unexplained symptoms.  

The distinguisted and highly repsected Professor Lorimer Mosley, an Australian physiotherapist whose explanation of chronic pain on YouTube and in TED talk's are appreciated by thousands of viewers. 

Delegates will also be introduced to Dr Deborah Padfield, a Visual Artist who will be showing her film “Pain under a microscope”, which is a culmination of over 10 years worth of work with pain patients. Some of the images created during the project will be used by  Pain Medicine Physician, Professor Joanna Zakrzewskato, to illustrate the impact of  pain management courses. 

To finalise the event Ms Rachel Stovell, Senior Physiotherapist, will facilitate group work to ensure all delegates leave with the tools needed to provide an explanation of chronic pain in a personalised way.


Topics include: 

  • Stimulate creative thinking around the challenges of encountering and communicating pain by integrating rigorous scientific presentations with creative practice based interventions 
  • Understand the value of a good explanation from the patient perspective  
  • Appreciate the importance of language in describing/explaining pain
  • The role of metaphor and role play in explaining pain science
  • Identify the need and required elements in an explanation  
  • Appreciate how a visual journey through a pain clinic could lead to improved outcomes  
  • Design explanations for use in clinics and teaching 


Keynote speaker

Prof Lorimer Moseley
Professor Lorimer Moseley, Senior Principal Research Fellow from NeuRA, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences & Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, University of South Australia.

Professor Lorimer Moseley is a clinical scientist investigating pain in humans. Lorimer joined NeuRA from The University of Oxford, UK, where he was Nuffield Medical Research Fellow in the Departments of Clinical Neurology and Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics.


Other featured Speakers include:

Prof Elena Semino
  • Professor Elena Semino, Professor, Department: Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University

Prof Peter Salmon

  • Professor Peter SalmonProfessor of Clinical Psychology, Psychological Sciences from University of Liverpool


Pain Medicine Section: Andrew Lawson prize

Deadline for submissions: Monday 14 January 2019
Date of presentation: Friday 17 May 2019
Prize: £200 and free attendance to a Pain Medicine Section meeting of your choice
Open to: All medical students and trainees in pain medicine up to APT level, submissions from trainees of other specialities will also be accepted
Submissions from all medical students and trainees in pain medicine up to APT level are invited for the Andrew Lawson Prize in pain medicine. The title of the essay this year is Explain pain! How to explain pain and improve communication with patients. Essays should be no longer than 2000-3000 words.

The winner of the prize will receive £200, free attendance to a Pain Medicine Section meeting of their choice and will be expected to make a fifteen minute presentation on the topic of their essay at an upcoming Pain Medicine Section meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine.


Early bird rates expire on Sunday 24 March 2019!
RSM member: £25 - £75
Non-member: £35 - £140



*Following registration you will be contacted appropriately by email with; your booking confirmation, feedback survey and attendance certificate. For full details of the RSM privacy policy, click here.


9.00 am

Registration, tea and coffee

9.30 am


Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Lead Consultant in Facial Pain, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Session One

Chair: Professor Joanna Zakrzewska

9.40 am

Mindfulness exercise


9.50 am

My experience of being given an explanation of chronic pain


10.05 am

Language and describing/explaining pain

Professor Elena Semino, Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University

10.35 am

Panel discussion

10.45 am

Tea and coffee break

Session Two

Chair: Dr Sibs Anwar, Consultant in Perioperative Medicine, St Bartholomew's Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust

11.15 am

Making pain fun: From stories to synapses

Professor Lorimer Mosley, Senior Principal Research Fellow from NeuRA, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, University of South Australia

11.50 am

Panel discussion

12.00 pm

Need for explanation: Legitimacy, engagement and empowerment

Professor Peter Salmon, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool

12.30 pm

Panel discussion with audience question and answer session

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Professor Elena Semino, Professor Lorimer Mosley, Ms Rachel Stovell, Pain Physiotherapist, Dr Deborah Padfield, Visual artist, Teaching Fellow, University College London

1.00 pm


Annual General Meeting for Section Members only

Session Three

Chair: Professor Lorimer Mosley

2.00 pm

Pain management course explained through images

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska

2.20 pm

Panel discussion

2.25 pm

Group work multidisciplinary masterclass: How would you give an explanation of neuropathic pain, pelvic pain, temporomandibular disorder and back pain. What resources would you use?

Ms Rachel Stovell

2.55 pm

Masterclass groups: Feedback

3.15 pm

Tea and coffee break

Session Four

Chair: Professor Joanna Zakrzewska

3.45 pm

Introduction to the film

Dr Deborah Padfield

4.00 pm

Film: Under the microscope

Dr Deborah Padfield

4.35 pm

Panel discussion

4.45 pm

Evaluation: Reflecting back on the day

5.00 pm

Close of meeting

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  • Early bird rates expire on Sunday 24 March 2019!
  • Registration closes Monday 13 May 2019
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