As a clinician
My integrated and person-centred approach to helping people suffering chronic pain comes from my education, learnings and experiences in healthcare over the past 28+ years.
Initially training as a registered general nurse, I went on to study sport rehabilitation/science, physiotherapy, pain science and throughout this, coaching.
Over the years, I have worked in the NHS, sport, the corporate world and private sector. Each have brought valuable lessons, yet none as much as those learned by working with individual people.
My specific focus on chronic pain started in the early 2000’s, although my interest and intrigue began when I was training to be a nurse.
I formalised my education in the field so I could specialise, reading the Pain Science and Society MSc at Kings College London (KCL). This was a pioneering course designed and delivered by Professor Mick Thacker, who was himself trained by some of the ‘greats’ in pain such as Pat Wall and Stephen McMahon to name a few.
The two years I spent at KCL not only immersed me in the latest science of pain, but also the context within which it arises: society and people’s lives.
Completing this rogorous and demanding training prepared me for my specialist role but also for the necessary on-going learning skills to keep abreast of scientific and other developments.
I pride myself on bringing the latest thinking in pain to you, the person in front of me, offering you the best in care so that you can live your best life.
Over the past 15 years, I have been pioneering Pain Coaching as an approach that embraces people’s strengths, their potential to improve their lives and to build wellness. The focus is always on what can be done and then how to move forward using practical tools to achieve success.
Helping society understand pain
In 2015 I co-founded Understand Pain (UP) with singer and Rock Choir leader, Georgie Standage. Georgie came to see me because she had complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This is a terribly painful and challenging condition. Benefiting from practices and strategies based on the latest understanding of pain, Georgie told me that she wanted us to get together and create something to help others. UP was born. The purpose of UP was to share the modern messages about pain to give people understanding and hope.
To launch UP, Georgie organised a singing event at Heathrow with over 400 Rock Choir singers. It was an incredible atmosphere as the Choir entertained passengers and staff throughout the afternoon, with brief intervals to talk about the problem of pain — one of the largest global health burdens.
Since then, I have spoken at many events, conferences, delivered practical webinars and have run workshops for people suffering persistent pain. This continues as part of my work.
In 2017, I created upandrun as another way to raise awareness and to encourage people to be active in their own way.
From 2018 I picked up the distance and started running an ultramarathon each month for UP. This continued for two years before needing to ease back a little — it was taking up so much time! UPandrun continues at a slightly easier pace now 😊.
In 2022 I started humanitarian work in with the physiotherapists in Gaza. This is with the charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Part online and visiting in September last year, I am delivering teaching and training on chronic pain to help the local physios develop their service. I plan to continue this work for as long as is needed.