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 an opportunity to enhance their skills at providing an explanation. This event will start with a patient who will describe her experience of obtaining an explanation, and its impact on her ability to manage her pain. A Professor of Linguistics, Professor Elena Semino, will demonstrate the importance words and metaphors to provide explanations and this will be complimented by a health psychologist, Professor Peter Salmon, who works in the field of medically unexplained symptoms.  

First, delegates will hear from the distinguished Professor Lorimer Mosley, an Australian physiotherapist whose explanation of chronic pain on You Tube and in a TED talk are appreciated by thousands of viewers. 

Dr Deborah Padfield a visual artist will show her film “Pain under a microscope” which is the culmination of over 10 years of work with pain patients.  Some of the images created during this project will be used by a pain medicine physician, Professor Joanna Zakrzewskato illustrate the impact of a pain management course.  A senior physiotherapist Rachel Stovell, will facilitate group work to ensure we capture more of your ideas and all leave with more tools 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 


Speakers include:

  • Professor Elena Semino, Professor, Department: Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University
  • Professor Peter SalmonProfessor of Clinical Psychology, Psychological Sciences from University of Liverpool
  • Professor Lorimer Moseley, Senior Principal Research Fellow from NeuRA


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.


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


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

10.35 am

Panel discussion

10.45 am

Tea and coffee break

Session Two

Chair: Dr Sibs Anwar

11.15 am

Making pain fun: From stories to synapses

Professor Lorimer Mosley

11.50 am

Panel discussion

12.00 pm

Need for explanation: Legitimacy, engagement and empowerment

Professor Peter Salmon

12.30 pm

Panel discussion with audience question and answer session

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Professor Elena Semino, Professor Lorimer Mosley, Ms Rachel Stovell, Dr Deborah Padfield

1.00 pm


Session Three

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, Pain Physiotherapist

2.55 pm

Masterclass groups: Feedback

3.15 pm

Tea and coffee break

Session Four

Joanna Zak

3.45 pm

Introduction to the film

Dr Deborah Padfield, Visual artist, Teaching fellow, University College London

4.00 pm

Film: Under the microscope

Dr Deborah Padfield, Visual artist, Teaching fellow, University College London

4.35 pm

Panel discussion

4.45 pm

Evaluation: Reflecting back on the day

5.00 pm

Close of meeting

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  • Registration closes Monday 13 May 2019


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