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New online pain resource for physiotherapists

A new Wikipedia-style online portal aims to help develop best practice in pain management worldwide.

The Pain Project is an initiative led by the Physiotherapy Pain Association (PPA), the professional network of the UK's Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Through a new section of the profession's global online resource, Physiopedia, physiotherapists can contribute or develop evidence-based articles on pain management. Contributions can be made as part of a personal continuing professional development programme or simply to help develop a wide-ranging and authoritative resource for the physiotherapy profession.

According to the British Pain Association, almost 10 million people in the UK suffer pain almost daily. Chronic pain not only has an effect on a person's quality of life; it can also have implications for the economy. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society estimates that 9.4 million working days are lost per annum in Britain because of this painful condition, and the TUC believes that British businesses lose around 4.9 million working days every year due to chronic back pain.

In 2012, a National Pain Audit was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. It found that there was 'clear variation in provision of service and no agreed standards of care'. While physiotherapists were seen as 'key personnel in any pain service', only 52% of providers in England reported having access to a physiotherapist, and the authors of the audit were only able to locate pain management standards for physiotherapists dating back to the 1990s.

The Pain Project aims to address some of these issues by helping the profession share vital information, observations and techniques, creating an online digest of 'practical, credible and thought-provoking material on the science of pain, its assessment and management'. Although the site is effectively an 'open' resource, content will be critically reviewed and the quality of contributions is expected to be high because the majority will be coming from professional practitioners. "We can't control all the content on the site," said PPA Chair Martin Hey in a recent interview with the CSP's magazine Frontline, "but as a professional resource, physiotherapists would expect it to be much more credible."

To contribute to the PPA Pain Project, visit

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