I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 31

J Pain


We are all in this together – whole of community pain science education campaigns to promote better management of persistent pain.


Ryan CG, Karran EL, Wallwork SB, Pate JW, O'Keeffe M, Fullen BM, Livadas N, Jones N, Toumbourou JW, Gilchrist P, Cameron PA, Fatoye F, Ravindran D, Lorimer Moseley G


Persistent pain is a major public health issue – estimated to affect a quarter of the world’s population. Public understanding of persistent pain is based on outdated biomedical models, laden with misconceptions that are contrary to best evidence. This understanding is a barrier to effective pain management. Thus, there have been calls for public health-based interventions to address these misconceptions. Previous pain focussed public education campaigns have targeted pain beliefs and behaviours that are thought to promote recovery, such as staying active. However, prevailing pain-related misconceptions render many of these approaches counter-intuitive, at best. Pain Science Education improves understanding of ‘how pain works’ and has been demonstrated to improve pain and disability outcomes. Extending Pain Science Education beyond the clinic to the wider community seems warranted. Learning from previous back pain-focussed and other public health educational campaigns could optimise the potential benefit of such a Pain Science Education campaign. Pain Science Education-grounded campaigns have been delivered in Australia and the UK and show promise, but robust evaluations are needed before any firm conclusions on their population impact can be made. Several challenges exist going forward. Not least is the need to ensure all stakeholders are involved in the development and implementation of Pain Science Education public messaging campaigns. Furthermore, it is crucial that campaigns are undertaken through a health equity lens, incorporating underrepresented communities to ensure that any intervention does not widen existing health inequalities associated with persistent pain. PERSPECTIVE: Public misconceptions about pain are a significant public health challenge and a viable intervention target to reduce the personal, social, and economic burden of persistent pain. Adaptation of Pain Science Education, which improves misconceptions in a clinical setting, into the public health setting seems a promising approach to explore.