I can’t believe I didn’t know about this until now… Apparently, the folks at the Tufts University Pain Research, Education, and Policy program have decided to put all of the lectures for their graduate course “Introduction to Clinical Pain Problems” online, for free.
You might be wondering why I am posting links to a resource like this on a blog that is geared more towards patients than professionals. That’s because I believe it’s important for chronic patients to be able to advocate for themselves and sound like they know what they’re talking about. Chronic pain is something that is misunderstood and underestimated by so many healthcare professionals. The more you know, the more you will be able to help yourself.
I’ve also found that the more I know about pain, and the more of a context I have to approach my own issues with, the better I feel. While I don’t believe our emotions “cause” pain, I do believe that how we respond emotionally to pain plays a role in feeding the pain cycle. If you can cut down on the “panic factor” in terms of how you respond to pain, in my experience, anyway, you can begin to diminish the pain cycle itself. You might have the same “input” from your nervous system, but the less and less your emotions are involved, the less of a feedback loop you will have.
For that reason, I take a lot of comfort in educating myself as much as possible. I’m certainly not a medical professional, but I have spent so much time researching that now I actually recommend reading materials to doctors. (I mean, I doubt they actually take the time to read what I recommend, but they seem to take me seriously and appreciate the recommendation, anyway).
On the subject of the Tufts Pain Research, Education, and Policy program:
I would just like to say that I have so much respect for this program in general. I attended an open house there once and met some really great people. I am interested in someday attending as a student in the Masters program, but feel it would make more sense to become licensed as some sort of healthcare professional first, since the program seems to mainly be geared towards clinicians.
Anyway, the faculty in this department is just great. They “get” it. I’m definitely going to be checking out these lectures.
**The picture above is one of the slides from the course lectures. All of the course materials are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. **