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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Uncertainty at the British Pain Society conference in Glasgow, April 2015

Another Premier Inn for Athula and Carolyn, but right opposite the conference centre, and blue skies heralded the start of the conference. 

The Pat Wall Lecture, given by Prof Andrew Rice was excellent (reminding me of my days in Physiology, and the ‘gate theory of Melzack and Wall’). Our parallel session ‘Dealing with Diagnostic Uncertainty’ attracted good numbers, and a mixed audience of clinicians (pain specialists, psychologists, rheumatologists, physiotherapists) and academics (including Andrew Moore who is now at Bristol working with Rachel Gooberman-Hill).
Tamar Pincus did a wonderful job of chairing the session, and engaging with the audience who politely listened to our presentations, but did not hold back in their questioning (at times quite challenging). 

Danijela Serbic (one of Tamar’s former PhD students from Royal Holloway) presented results of her PhD studies, emphasizing the guilt people with chronic low back pain may feel as they struggle to obtain a satisfactory diagnostic label.

Carolyn spoke from the ‘swamp’ of general practice, offering a taxonomy of approaches which GPs may use to deal with complex patients, where there is uncertainty in their presentation. Athula reported on his work in Sri Lanka, using metaphors to convey the principles of CBT.

We hope we gave a good account of ourselves, and the RI, certainly the discussion lasted well in lunch (which, incidentally was very good!). We are already planning a workshop for next year’s conference in Harrogate.

By Carolyn Chew-Graham and Athula Sumathipala

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