Chronic Pain

Tuesday 30 January 2024
14:30 – 16:00 (GMT)

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Pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage”.[1] Whereas acute pain is akin to a corporeal alarm, long-term, persistent or chronic pain may not serve any particular purpose.

In English, we say that someone either has pain or is in pain. The preposition in is telling, as if sometimes our bodies are immersed in pain, or surrounded by it. Yet pain is never just in the body or just in the mind and such ambiguity makes a conversation about somatics and chronic pain an ideal starting point for C-DaRE invites … Series 2: The body and science.

We have invited four members of the Somatic Practice and Chronic Pain Network to talk online about their research, and to be in an open conversation about the intersections between science, art, somatics, the human body, and pain.

We welcome Anna Macdonald, Aline Nogueira Haas, Bernie Carter and Emma Meehan.

[1] International Association for the Study of Pain.

Responsivity, care and pain
Anna Macdonald

I discuss movements of care, focusing on the quality of responsivity. The term responsivity is used here to describe a sensitivity to affective states, a heightened capacity to respond and the fluctuating exchange between stimulus and action. I explore relational qualities, focusing on a screendance called Reasonable Adjustments, which I made as part of a project working with people living with chronic pain.

Anna Macdonald is a dance and moving image artist whose socially engaged practice has generated interdisciplinary findings in the fields of health, science and law, within projects supported by AHRC, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust. She is the PI for AHRC funded Choreography of Consent Network and is based at UAL: Central St Martins, where she is the course leader for the social practice PG degree, MA Performance: Society.

Navigating Pain in Parkinson’s: Exploring the Potential of Brazilian Dance
Aline Haas

Pain affects a substantial majority of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), ranging from 68% to 95% and correlating with higher depression and anxiety scores. Despite its prevalence, those with PD often lack consistent pain treatment, and the most effective approach remains unclear among available options. Brazilian Dance is a potential non-pharmacological intervention that can improve people with Parkinson’s brain health. In this presentation, I discuss and present the results of the Dance for Parkinson’s project at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and how they help people with PD to improve their quality of life and reduce pain.

Aline is a dance and Pilates practitioner/researcher and educator. She is an Associate Professor in Dance at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She is a Global Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, and the Leader of the Research Group in Arts, Body and Education.

Being a pain conduit: interpreting and advocating for another’s pain
Bernie Carter

Expressing and explaining your own pain can be difficult but for children with limited verbal and other means of expression, pain communication relies on their parent or other people who know and understand them. Parents act as conduits for the interpretation and communication of their child’s pain. Parents use their bodies to sense their child’s pain through touch, interpreting posture, tension and difference. Their child’s pain ‘becomes known’ through them acting as a conduit; they are ‘feeling’ their child’s pain. In this session I will open these thoughts up for exploration and response.

Bernie is Professor of Children’s Nursing at Edge Hill University, UK. Her research focuses on children, young people and their parents and particularly on assessment, communication and the experience of chronic pain.

Understanding Agency with Chronic Pain Through Dance and Health Research
Emma Meehan

I discuss how I have brought together literature from dance and health in order to understand the experiences of agency in dancers with chronic pain. I’ll give some examples of how research from these different fields overlapped or conflicted, including on ideas of self-efficacy, peer support and the impact of environments.

Emma is Associate Professor in Dance at Coventry University. She co-founded the AHRC funded Somatic Practice and Chronic Pain Network with Prof. Bernie Carter, with whom she co-published Moving with Pain in Frontiers in Psychology (2021). Her new article on dancers with chronic pain is forthcoming in 2024.