• Nadine Stunzi

Pain Science and Primates

On Feb 14th I had the pleasure of flying out to San Diego California to attend the annual San Diego Pain Summit. It being my 35th birthday on Saturday the 15th, I decided to extend the trip by one day to see the famous San Diego zoo. Pain science and primates, perhaps some of my all time favourite wonders! If you make it to the end of this post some primate fun will be found. To keep it short and sweet, I have focused on key take home messages from the 2 day conference. I must say that although we grow most in challenge and conflict, there is something so invigorating about being in a room of like minded people. That indeed, was what the San Diego Pain summit offered. I was energized by many thought leaders who dare to practice humility in their clinical practice, dare to admit what they don’t know, dare to ask why and better yet dare to ask how can we make it better. We talked about pain yes but we also divulged into larger ideas like our current health care system and how the treatment model needs to change. It was truly a fantastic 2 days.

PAIN SUMMIT Take Home Messages:

1) Patient-centered care is:

- Listening and validating

- Forming an alliance

- Identifying and providing support networks

- Defining values, goals and expectations

- Shared decision making and planning

- Sharing clinical evidence and best practices

2) “We owe it to our patients and to ourselves to be a generation of skeptical, inquisitive and reflective physical therapists that are always seeking to be less wrong” Dr. Nicolas Ferrara, DPT.Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability” Sir William Osler. Therefor, it’s imperative to always be learning, seeking to stay up to date with the research and use best practices as they evolve.

3) “Nothing could be more humanistic than using evidence to find the best possible approach to careJules Rothstein, PT, PhD. In cancer care, I am very passionate about this, as there is a lot of alternative therapies out there. Whether this to ‘alkalize’ the body, take various supplements, heal your cancer through meditation or swim in arctic cold water. In my every day conversations with patients I strive to be patient-centered but evidence based. This means understanding what is important to the patient’s value systems but using careful language to offer what I understand to be evidence best care; not just a trial and error treatment or anecdotal evidence.

4) CHEW ON THIS: “80-95% of patients with low back pain have no pathological or anatomical cause for their pain” ref. Hence there is growing evidence that therapeutic alliance, patient beliefs and expectations [...] pain catastrophizing and self-efficacy are more predictive of clinical outcomes than changes to the target therapy (i.e. changes in muscle, posture, joint position) ref. This is important to consider because next to diabetes and ischemic heart disease back pain remain the 3rd top Global Health burden, and 3rd condition for personal health care spending in the United States ref.

5) Parent-Child Narratives Influence How Children Remember Pain so...

REFRAME THE PAIN” (Be positive, realistic and be brave). How you talk to your children about pain matters moving forward in life.

More about this initiative, lead by researcher: Dr. Melanie Noel.

6) After a few days of intellectualism, one must simply relax a little, and so I did. Here is a photograph of a gorilla paying close attention to Dr. Forster, a primatologist's phone. What is it that they were watching so attentively? A facebook page for gorillas, oh the likeliness and the irony...