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Airing Pain 140: Childhood Pain – Adverse Experiences and Parental Relationships

This edition of Airing Pain is on the topic of early childhood experiences
(Content warning: includes abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction)

The World Health Organisation states that ‘adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can have lifelong consequences on a person’s health, and well-being, and can lead to a person developing persistent pain in later life’. A lot of this research is conducted in adults, and of course with changes in attitudes and beliefs surrounding raising children over the years, would they consider events in their childhood to be adverse?

Listen to learn more about this complex discussion. Find out how this kind of trauma in formative years impacts neurobiologically on the stress response, and causes changes on a structural and functional level in the brain that can predispose young people not only to pain but depression, cardiovascular disease, behaviours with increased health risks, and can have impact on mortality.


Dr Katie Birnie, Clinical Psychologist at the University of Calgary.

Professor Lesley Colvin, Project Lead at Consortium Against Pain InEquality (CAPE) and Professor of Pain Medicine at the University of Dundee, and consultant in pain services.

Jen Ford, DRAP Pain Physio & Therapy Lead at Bath Centre for Pain Services & Bristol Paediatric Pain.

Professor Tim Hales, Project Lead at CAPE and a non-clinical Professor of anaesthesia at the University of Dundee.

Dr Lauren Heathcote, Senior Lecturer in health psychology at Kings College London.


2:06 Prof Tim Hales discusses the impact on ACE on chronic pain and how people respond to treatment.

7:02 Prof Lesley Colvin Professor on how ACE causes persistent pain.

16:05 Dr Lauren Heathcote discusses the psychology of pain and symptom perception in young people.

23:26 Jen Ford on the different approach required when working with children.

26:05 Dr. Katie Bernie explore the importance of children and family partnerships.


Pain Concern would like to thank the British Pain Society for their support in the creation of this edition of Airing Pain.

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