• Question: Hi I am a student who was in one of the live chats earlier today and noticed you help young people who suffer with chronic pain. I have suffered with chronic pain for nearly three years now. I was wondering what kind of research you carry out ? As I have had numerous medical investigations with no results.

    Asked by Jemma to Abbie on 16 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Abbie Jordan

      Abbie Jordan answered on 16 Nov 2018:

      Hi Jemma,

      Thanks for the question and I am sorry to hear that you live with chronic pain. That can be tough I know. I hope that you have good support from your GP or other NHS services. There is help out there.

      In terms of research, I do a number of things. Things we have done include developing new questionnaires for use with young people who experience chronic pain. This is important as previously questionnaires were really adult focused and not appropriate for use with young people. These questionnaires help us to better understand the impact of chronic pain on young people’s lives (so we can better direct treatment to consider this) but also to see if treatments are working. So that’s one thing.

      Most of the work I do looks broadly at how living with chronic pain affects young people (e.g. how it might be trickier for them to go out with friends, make friends, attend school) but also how it might affect how they feel (e.g. worried about how long it will last, low mood). I have also done lots of work looking at the impact on parents of young people who have chronic pain. It can be tricky for parents too.

      Other work we are doing at the moment is looking at the overlap between mental health symptoms and chronic pain in young people. This is a project that one of my PhD students is just starting. So watch this space for that one!

      I am also doing some work which is really exciting to look at issues around identity and how young people think about their future. This is pretty neat as we are asking young people with a particular chronic pain condition (complex regional pain syndrome) to complete an online task to tell us what their future will look like 10 years after finishing secondary school. We are also asking young people without pain to complete this task so we can compare. We are doing this as we know it can be tricky for some young people who experience ongoing pain to think about their future positively (not all at all). So we hope that the results of this can inform some of the treatments that exist for young people who experience chronic pain and enable them to focus more on supporting young people to think about how they see themselves and their future (e.g. more positively) if an issue.

      That’s a long answer but just some of the things I am doing and have done. I hope this is helpful and I wish you lots of luck with moving forward. I know it can be tricky when you don’t have any medical reason for the pain. That’s the case for a good number of the young people I work with and they can find psychological pain treatment helpful in terms of helping them get back to doing things that matter to the (if pain is stopping them doing things like going out with friends or attending a particular activity they like).