Docs jump on bikes to aid pain research

Researchers and clinicians will soon be cycling across Tasmania, Australia, to raise money and awareness about pain.

The marathon journey has been organised by a non-profit group called Pain Revolution in pursuit of the aim that “all Australians will have access to the knowledge, skills and local support to prevent and overcome persistent pain”.

Between March 16 and 23, 25 riders will cycle more than 700 kilometres from Devonport in the state’s north to Hobart in the south. 

The peloton includes scientists, educators, clinicians and people with persistent pain who train for months to prepare for the challenging ride.

Along the route, they will be followed by the Brain Bus, an experiential learning lab, parked in various town centres, allowing people to learn about the science of pain.

The sessions are open to the public, and researchers will demonstrate experiments that explain how pain and the brain work.

One such experiment, the Rubber Hand Illusion, shows participants that simply observing a rubber hand can alter perception so much that the brain believes the artificial limb is real.

Throughout the year, researchers and clinicians work together to develop resources and opportunities for people with pain, as well as educational tools for practitioners in rural Australia who treat it.

Virtual reality is also being used to develop new treatments for pain, and new experiments using the technology will also be on display.

Pain Revolution was founded by Lorimer Moseley, a professor at the University of South Australia. 

“We need to engage with this massive problem in a new way, give people the resources to recover, and find the best methods to prevent persisting pain,” he says.

Although the riders and Brain Bus serve to interact with the public and share the latest research about pain, the ride also raises money to fund enrolment in the Local Pain Educator Program (LPE).

The LPE offers local clinicians advanced training through an online certificate program in pain science, along with mentoring from experts in the field and access to networking resources. 

The program is designed to improve capacity to treat persistent pain in rural Australia, to help create lasting opportunities for clinicians and patients alike.

Find out more at the organisation’s website.

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