Wednesday, February 26, 2020

#SDPAIN2020 Final chapter

There were many good speakers throughout the weekend including my old friend Dave Walton, who presented his current research in a presentation with the intriguing title, Blood, Spit, Hair, and Poop: How Novel Biomarkers Are Shedding New Light On The Transition To Chronic Pain.
Dave Walton
Photo credit Julie Tudor

I met Dave long ago (2005) when we were starting up the PainScience Division in Canada. Here's the story in point form. 
  • David Butler (in Australia) moderated a physio discussion forum in the early 2000's, where I met Nick Matheson (from Nova Scotia). Nick contacted me in 2004 with the idea that we should ask CPA to let us make a new division, a pain division. He had to drop the project early though, for family urgent family reasons. So, at that point, I was it. 
  • I realized Neil Pearson, another discussion group member, was living in the lower mainland near Vancouver, where I lived at the time. I contacted him and ran the idea by him. He was in. 
  • I contacted Dave Walton. I remembered a letter to the editor of the ortho group's journal in which he mused about there being a special interest group someday in Canada for physios. He was in. A few others heard the news and wanted in. Soon we were a group of 6 or 7. 
  • CPA didn't want another division at first. So we made a group anyway. Dave built a webpage and we posted stuff on it. We suddenly had a profile. We made newsletters that I sent around to a mailing list that developed. We called ourselves the Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Group. 
  • Eventually, we became a division in 2009.  I served on it as a comm-liaison until 2013. Both Dave and Neil served two-year terms as chair. I retired after CPA locked down our stuff and I couldn't deal with the tech side of things on their complicated website. 
Anyway, this year at the summit Dave showed up!! It was good to catch up with him. He has published a book, had it there for sale, was signing it. 

Dave's book
I'm giving it a read. So far, so good.


The panel discussions were wonderful - and Rajam has made both of them available for all to watch. Challenging. Provocative. Graded exposure, health care people. Graded exposure. If the summit can give you anything beyond more facts and knowledge to digest and a wonderful safe relaxed space to meet interesting people, it can give you digestible graded exposure to the difficult psychosocial topics of life.  


Joletta Belton and Keith Meldrum co-presented The Lived Experience: A Conversation About Pain. Both of them had harrowing experiences, not just with their lived pain but with its exacerbation by well-intended but humanity-less medical "systems" of care.
I know those systems quite well, was part of them in younger newly-graduated days. 

They do tend to suck away the soul; my training as a physio did not equip me to handle other peoples' souls very well. I would advance the idea that we are all trained to be operators, working from concepts only, doing stuff to people, instead of interactors, knowing boundary skills on how to be with people. After a while, I realized that "systems" would be the death of my own humanity, so I went private, where I could salvage and deploy whatever was left of it. But when you are a helpless patient they are the mental meat grinders you are forced to go through, for better or worse - great for keeping you biologically alive but not great at helping you become un-shattered psychosocially; in fact, they can make those components of the lived pain experience much worse. 
I have concluded, after 50 years of being a physio, that these "systems" evolved to provide space and distance to protect helpers from the angst and pain of the people they are presumably trying to help, but they backfire bigtime for the person enduring a lived pain experience. 
Not always.
But mostly. 

You can watch their presentation (and presentations by others from previous years) here

Joletta Belton and Keith Meldrum discuss their experiences
being patients with chronic pain


This panel was with Sandy Hilton, Mark Milligan, Maxi Miciak, and Uchenna Ossai. They tackled topics of discrimination, white fragility, redlining, systemic barriers to health care, institutionalized racism, colourism; all the psychosocial stressors people in marginalized communities and identity groups put up with daily and take a huge health toll. This is hugely educational. You can watch it for free at this link

Audience (me in the red shirt)
Photo credit: Lisa Flores



All the presentations were great. Rajam has made ALL the summit presentations, to date, available by paying her only a few hundred dollars. Six summits worth of high-value education, for just a few hundred dollars. She wants the world to transform itself toward better health care. Not just talk about it, but DO IT! You can gain access to this amazing body of education at this link


This fall's SD Pain Summit East, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is at this link. Sign up now. 

Next year's San Diego Pain Summit in San Diego is at this link. Sign up now. 

Thank you Rajam, for everything you do. See you next year!! 

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