Leading professor sets out to ‘make an impact’ following appointment as Community Pain Champion for revolutionary health campaign.
With over 15 years of experience researching pain, Professor Cormac Ryan has been appointed as a Community Pain Champion for Flippin’ Pain. Cormac has an extensive understanding of the subject and is aiming to flip public understanding of persistent pain; moving away from the traditional, wholly medical model of pain that is now outdated, towards a more biopsychosocial approach – considering biological, psychological, and social factors to the experience of pain – in keeping with up to date scientific understanding.
In his role as Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation at Teesside University, Cormac routinely publishes in peer-reviewed scientific literature, contributes to national pain guidelines, and delivers lectures throughout the UK and internationally. A natural communicator, he is already delivering his invaluable knowledge in an engaging and energetic manner as a Community Pain Champion.
I’m really excited to be involved in the Flippin’ Pain campaign. I want to take contemporary scientific information out of the laboratory and put it into the hands of the public. We are severely limiting the influence of science by keeping it contained within the academic community; we can make a much bigger impact by bringing it to the public in the spaces they are – we need to get the message out there.
As part of the newly created role, Cormac will be a guest speaker at several public health engagement events across Lincolnshire with the most recent Flippin’ Pain event attracting over 100 people in Lincoln last month. The event has given the community hope, with over half of audience members who felt less able to live a ‘normal’ lifestyle saying they now feel more confident about managing their daily lives.
Through Flippin’ Pain we share a scientific way of understanding pain. The predominant public understanding is that pain is purely a response to injury or damage in the body. However, modern science tells us that this view is overly simplistic and wrong. The purpose of pain is to protect us. It is not an accurate marker of the physical state of our body but rather a marker of perceived threat, or risk, to our body by our alarm system. It is influenced by a broad spectrum of biological, psychological and social factors. It is a poor reflection of the scientific community that, so far, we have failed to communicate this understanding to the masses. Truly understanding pain can be transformative, empowering individuals to engage in a new, more active, approach to their pain, in keeping with national guidelines.
The Flippin’ Pain campaign is focusing on Lincolnshire as concerns grow over the county’s over-reliance on pain medication. Feedback from the event held in Lincoln last month shows a lasting impact on the community, with 70% of audience members who were concerned they would always have to take pain medication saying they were more confident they would be able to adopt alternative management methods.
Lincolnshire being identified as one of the top 10 hotspots of opioid prescription for pain in the UK* suggests persistent pain is a significant issue for the local community. In the longer term our aim is to deliver the campaign throughout the UK as pain is a national public health issue affecting 30-50% of the UK population.
In his role, Cormac is working alongside Professor Lorimer Moseley, an internationally acclaimed pain scientist who has 25 years’ experience understanding and treating persistent pain. The duo joined forces at the recent public engagement event in Lincoln and will continue to collaborate on the Flippin’ Pain campaign, which mirrors Professor Moseley’s ground-breaking Pain Revolution in Australia.
Professor Lorimer Moseley said:
I was stoked to see that Professor Cormac Ryan is getting involved in Flippin’ Pain. He is one of the good guys – he does great work, knows a lot about pain and how best to manage it, and he’s a community-focused operator. Well done on the new role.
The appointment comes ahead of exciting plans for Flippin’ Pain, as Cormac and a team of pain professionals are planning a community outreach tour that will hit the streets of Lincolnshire. Travelling across the county visiting several stop-off points, including harder to reach locations, the tour will include a charitable bike ride and ‘the Brain Bus’, a pop-up interactive laboratory.