The documentary will examine how culture and creativity can activate our innate healing processes. Image courtesy

Chronic pain relief explored by Exeter academic in BBC documentary

Life expectancy in the developed world is increasing, but for those with chronic pain, living longer could be seen as more of a curse than a blessing. A University of Exeter academic will be exploring ground-breaking research into relieving chronic pain in a BBC Radio 4 documentary on 15 July at 9pm.

As we live longer more of us will begin to suffer chronic pain, but conventional medicine cannot offer a complete cure and usually only provides limited relief.

It is estimated the NHS will need an additional £5 billion by 2018 to deal with chronic conditions, leading to urgent calls for a new approach to the problem.  

Dr Sarah Goldingay from the University of Exeter investigates new approaches to dealing with chronic pain which go well beyond traditional medicine in the BBC programme, which she has both written and presents.  In The Problem of Pain, Dr Goldingay explores how ground-breaking research is exploring the problem in a more holistic and radical way by looking at how culture and creativity can activate our innate healing processes.  As a drama expert/academic, she also investigates how our social interactions can shape the ways we live with chronic pain.

Dr Goldingay said: “We all have pain. So we tend to think that it’s the same for all of us. But chronic pain is different – this is pain that doesn’t go away. It’s estimated that 10 million people in the UK have pain most days, and that’s on the rise. It can’t be treated by a pill or a trip to the doctors. It’s hard to explain and it’s even harder to understand. It impacts on every aspect of someone’s life – their relationships, their job, their understanding of the world. Although the pain can’t be cured, creativity, caring and community can help people find relief – and that’s what the programme investigates.”

In addition to a visit to Lourdes to discover how the spiritual can offer relief from chronic pain, Dr Goldingay speaks to world experts like Dr Miguel Farias, a neuro-psychologist whose innovative work has shown a link between belief and pain and Dr Jen Tarr, who offers insights into the importance of community on pain management.

Listen to The Problem of Pain on BBC Radio 4 at 9pm on July 15.

Date: 9 July 2015

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