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"PainPoint" is shared information and insights on pain for health professionals and interested members of the public.

Content provided by the Integrated Pain Service, Waikato Hospital. Feedback on this page to Bronwyn Pester, clinical nurse specialist, or Luke Mercer, pain specialist. 


Brainman is back!

There has been some great news from our colleagues at Hunter Medicare in Australia.  You may remember the Brainman video released some months ago (Understanding pain and what to do about it in 5 minutes).  They have now created two very short videos in the same style, easily viewed and clear to listen to about specific aspects of dealing with chronic pain.

 These two videos are called:

 “Brainman chooses” link) and

“Brainman stops his opioids” link)

Have a look.  They are succinct, interesting and last only a minute or two.  Happy viewing!

Posted by Bronwyn, October 2014

 Pain Less exhibition and blog

Pain Less was an exhibition featured in the British Science Museum on the topic:  the future of pain relief.
The exhibition ran from November 2012 and closed on 31 August 2013.
Associated with the exhibition was a Pain Less blog, which includes many interesting facts, observations and personal stories. It is well worth checking out. link)

Posted by Bronwyn, May 2014

Can spirituality and faith help in coping with pain?

The theme of Pain and Spirituality is becoming more and more a crucial part of pain management as we treat the “whole person” not just the “bit of soreness” somewhere in the body (the biopsychosocial approach).

Lyndelle Kelson our Pain Nurse went to the NZ Pain Society Conference 2014 in Dunedin.
Below she relate aspects of interest from the Pain Nurses Special Interest Group session at the conference which focused on Spirituality.
Here’s what she had to report………

1. Spirituality and Ethics considers the role of the nurse with regards to spirituality.
These aspects include understanding the importance of a comprehensive spiritual assessment and use of thoughtful questions which engage patients to take the lead and express their spiritual needs in a therapeutic relationship.
The FICA Spiritual Assessment Tool (Faith, Importance, Community, Action in Care) was developed to use in a clinical setting and can be easily accessed through Google.

2. The question was asked - “What is Spirituality?”
There are a number of themes that emerge when trying to answer this question.
These include: Hope and Strength, Trust, Meaning and Purpose, Forgiveness, Belief and Faith, Confidence, Values, Love and Relationships, Creativity and Self Expression.

3. What governs our practice as Heath Professional in New Zealand?
The best model of practice used is the Maori Wellbeing Model(external link).  
A well respected Maori academic suggests “Taha wairua is generally felt by Maori to be the most essential requirement for health” (Durie, 1998, p. 72)

There seems to be an emerging body of work supporting the major significance of spirituality/religiosity on a patient’s ability to cope when living with chronic pain.
Meaning and purpose is given to these life experiences through the filter of spirituality. (This may look different for every individual and it is important to listen carefully to what patients are expressing.)
Literature highlights that practice such as prayer and meditation, focusing on a higher being gives patients an inner strength and support which enhance their ability to manage well.

My take home points from these discussions were:

  • Assess well with good active listening. Tools are available to support Health Care Professionals to do so. 
  • Spirituality/ Religiosity are significant aspects to the human experience which enhance patients’ wellbeing. 
  • Let’s not as health care workers avoid these interactions with patients, but let’s resource patients with the support and help they need. Chaplains, Kai Tiaki, social workers are all part of our allied health care team available to bring about good patient spiritual care.

- Lyndelle Kelson

Posted by Bronwyn, May 2014

Understanding the human side of chronic pain 

In the articles from the Pfizer Chronic Pain report from 2012 [PDF, 1.7 MB] you will pick up a number of issues that affect people dealing with chronic pain – lack of education and knowledge, sleep deprivation, hindrances to employment, discouragement and possible loss of financial income, diminished capacity for social engagement and caring for family……and the list goes on.

In particular, I want to draw your attention to the women's stories on pages 12-16 of the report.  These women are persevering and their stories are well worth reading and mulling over. They can provide some useful insights for us as health professionals as to how we might understand and improve outcomes for people in these situations.

Posted by Bronwyn

How emotions and past experiences can impact on pain

As part of their whole person approach to pain management, the Hunter Integrated Pain Service in Australia has created some publicly available resources.

One of these is a practical workbook that provides a guide which can help pain sufferers recognise emotions and past experiences impacting their pain experience.
There are practical activities and exercises one can do and some valuable insights into the practising of forgiveness.  
It also involves several patient stories.

Take a look [PDF, 188 KB]……we could all probably use some of this information in our personal lives anyway !

Posted by Bronwyn

Expressing pain through art

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this link is an invitation to peer into the world of chronic pain through art.  It is an article from the New York Times with a number of links to a variety of artists’ work. Take some time to engage with these telling insights into another world….It also includes a link to the Pain Exhibit website which has some amazing online galleries. link)

Posted by Bronwyn

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