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 focus on chronic pain started in the early 2000’s. I formalised my education in the field so that I could specialise, reading the Pain Science and Society MSc at Kings College London. This was a pioneering course that not only immersed me in the latest science of pain, but the context within which it arises: society and people’s lives. Completing the training prepared me for a 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 the person in front of me, offering them the best chance of moving on to live their best life. My role is to encourage, educate and empower.
Over the past 10+ years, I have been pioneering Pain Coaching as an approach that embraces people’s strengths, the potential to improve their lives and to build wellness. The focus is always on what can be done and then how to move on 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, webinars and conferences as well as running workshops for people suffering persistent pain. This continues as I pursue my purpose: help people understand their pain and give them hope for a positive future.
In 2017, we created upandrun as another way to raise awareness. Over the next couple of years, I ran the Royal Parks 1/2 marathon several times, the London Marathon and Brighton Marathon. I had always run, but now I was becoming a runner, particularly attracted to ultra distance. From 2018 I picked up the distance and started running an ultramarathon each month for UP. This continued for several years before needing to ease back a little — it was taking up so much time! Now I plan to run three each year.
Raising awareness of the problem of pain and what we can do, based on the latest understanding of pain, remains close to my heart. I take as many opportunities as I can to speak and share what we know, keeping a firm foot in the world of pain science.
GP practices, physiotherapy clinics, businesses, sports medical teams and schools have all engaged me in the past. If you would like me to speak at your practice or to your team, do get in touch