Dr. Sabrina Coninx from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Dr. Peter Stilwell from McGill University, Canada, have investigated how philosophical approaches can be used to think in new ways about pain and its management. The researchers advocate not merely reducing chronic pain management to searching and treating underlying physical changes but instead adopting an approach that focuses on the person as a whole. Their work was published online in the journal “Synthese” on 15 April 2021.
It is not currently possible to treat chronic pain effectively in many cases. This has encouraged researchers from various disciplines to consider new approaches to pain and its management over recent years. “Pain research and clinical practice do not take place in a vacuum, but instead involve implicit assumptions regarding what pain is and how it can be treated,” says Sabrina Coninx, research assistant at the Bochum research training group Situated Cognition. “Our aim is to shed light on these assumptions and discover how we can think in new ways about pain and its management with the help of philosophical approaches.” In their work, the authors develop a holistic, integrative and action-oriented approach.