Communicating with the person in pain

  • Mary O'Keeffe

    Physiotherapist, European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at Musculoskeletal Health Sydney, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Chris Main

    Professor, Keele University, United Kingdom
  • Brona Fullen

    European Pain Federation EFIC President - Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland
  • Tasha Stanton

    Associate Professor, Osteoarthritis Research Theme Lead for IIMPACT in Health at The University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


Chair: Mary O'Keeffe, Ireland

In conversation with Chris Main - How to make psychology more approachable to the patient and public
Chris Main, United Kingdom

Considering pain health literacy in the clinic
Brona Fullen, Ireland

Active self-management is a core component of healthcare delivery. In order for this to happen clear communication between the healthcare professional and the person living with pain is essential to build a therapeutic alliance focusing on the persons specific needs and goals. A core component of effective communication requires healthcare professionals to be aware of, and take into account a person’s level of health literacy. Health literacy is defined as a person’s ability to seek, understand and implement health related information to make appropriate health decisions. As people are increasingly being asked to assume more responsibility for self-care in an increasingly complex delivery system filled with health information and technology, health literacy skills become increasingly important. This session will discuss how low health literacy can impact on healthcare management, how it can be identified, measured, and propose strategies that can be incorporated into clinical setting to support those with low health literacy levels.

Delivering pain education to the person with osteoarthritis
Tasha Stanton, Australia

Osteoarthritic pain has historically been assumed to be driven by structural damage to the joint. However, pain levels have a tenuous relationship with the degree of structural damage, and recent evidence of immune and neural involvement supports the presence of a low-level inflammatory state. Together, these findings suggest we need to re-think such an assumption. This presentation will provide new evidence from pain science to reconceptualise our view of osteoarthritic pain. That is, to no longer consider osteoarthritic pain as a marker of joint damage, but rather, as an indicator of the protective state of the pain system. This talk will explore how we can communicate this new knowledge to the person with osteoarthritis: namely, discussing how the pain system’s protective state is upregulated, and why knowledge, reducing inflammation, and undertaking physical activity are the three key ingredients to improvement. Last, I will specifically discuss the critical importance of the words that we use to communicate with the person who has osteoarthritis.


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