Design project about 'pain': Hey guys, My name... - Pain Concern

Pain Concern

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Design project about 'pain'


Hey guys,

My name is Andy, I'm a student at the Glasgow School of Art, studying on my final Masters year in Design (specifically to do with services). Me and my classmate Tay are currently involved in a research and design project on the subject of pain.

We have conducted interviews with various physical and mental health experts involved in pain management courses and pain clinics across Glasgow but it has been really difficult to get in touch with the people suffering with chronic pain. This is why I have decided to contact your community.

If you have any experiences, opinions or ideas you wish to share with us we would be very grateful to listen to you. We would be keen to know about how you cope with pain, communicate your pain to others (socially and professionally) and how effective your various treatments have been. We are looking for an informal chat (on your preferred medium: private message, email, skype, etc) if you could lend us maybe 30 mins of your time.

We understand this can be a difficult subject to talk about and we promise to hold the information you provide us with with strict confidentiality. You can even hold our student details to be sure of this :)

We hope the information you can provide us with will help us to find a direction and outline some potential areas in the current public/private healthcare sphere and in the lives of people suffering with chronic pain that we can understand, evaluate and see potential for design to make a difference.

If you want to contact us directly please email:

Thank you very much for your time :)

Very best,

Andy and Tay

17 Replies

I'm nominating David. Students have much to learn and hopefully this will help.

Anyone else joining in?

Pat x


If you want to know about the worlds most painful incurable condition look on my facebook page!/kevin.scard... then contact me

I'll help out. As a design student myself I'd love to make myself useful doing something positive re pain management.

I'd like to help as I've chosen the alternative route, may give you insight as to why.

What are you trying to do? Re-design furnature or designinf something to get painful muscles to move without putting much stress on them.

I'm happy to help too. If it's design you're interested in then can I suggest "the chair'? For anyone with chronic back pain it's very difficult to find well designed chairs.

I am an Artist dealing with chronic pain which started from working as a ghost artist I got hurt on the job and 3 yrs later I am still in constant pain. Where I live No Doctors will even deal with pain management. They say that the DEA will take away their Licenses so I am in pain with no help or very little help. Its beyond a chair I wish that was the answere

Hi, I'll help all I can as education of others helps all.

I have suffered all my life with back pain. Spondylitis caused by my mother using me as a walking stick, first my head, then my shoulder and finally my arm. Then through working in factories my spine started to herniate, L 1 to L 5, followed by micro fractures of the upper spine, T 8-9 and T 9-10. My doctors feed me every type of medication until I found my own solution. Relax the muscles around the area with liniments or muscle relaxants. Confuse the brain as to where the pain is coming from. I used a tens machine from the time I woke up till bed time, changing its position every 20-30 minutes. I even went outside the area of pain with the machine. Now I take just standard ( over the counter) pain killers most of the time until I do something stupid like falling and breaking a couple of ribs in the process. Then I up my pain killers to Di-gesic which is 250 mg of Paracetamol and 250 mg of another drug which I cannot remember as I no longer have the box to look it up.

phone calls are out of the question as I live in Australia, but I read all health unlock articles even if I don't comment.

Thank you so much for your responses! I'll send a few private messages through to you all. We got quite a few emails too without usernames so if you sent a mail could you let us know via private message too :)

Apologies for not being very detailed about our area of study and the project. We have a bad habit of keeping it surface level when we talk about 'design' because there are quite a few disciplines within it which we branch out into (Product, Service, Experience, Interaction, Thinking).

Service Design is our grounding ( It's a discipline that relies heavily on research, collective understandings and iteration to create design ideas and proposals.

It looks at existing systems and processes (like making an appointment, going for a GP checkup, diagnosing an illness), breaks them down and tries to understand the implications of them on a human level (which is why we try to talk to as many people as possible who are involved in the system/process).

After this information is mapped we look at possibilities and opportunities to design new or change existing systems/processes/touchpoints. This might end up, like you say, in creating a new chair or perhaps a new informative leaflet or website or even a new system of navigating the available healthcare alternatives. Its too early to tell what the outcome will be but the possibilities are endless. We will keep you all in the loop and involved about what's happening :)

The project title is 'The Language of Pain'. Pain is something very individual and difficult to communicate, diagnose, treat and cope with. The project brief is very open and so the outcomes as of yet are unforeseen. We are hoping to get some kind of direction and focus from talking to a few of you guys about your experiences.

Thanks again for your help!

Very best,


Maggiet in reply to andywilson

If I can help in any way I would be happy to do so. I was an active woman who enjoyed cycling and walking until 2011 when I started with discomfort in my feet. Fast forward to now and I have severe pain caused by damaged nerves. I have small fibre neuropathy which is a progressive and incurable nerve condition that causes extreme pain and muscle weakness among other things. I also have fibromyalgia and auto immune conditions. Please feel free to get in touch if I can help. Maggie

Hi..only seeing this now. Is your project finished. I like your angle...from a creative and practical point of view. I am an out of work artist...and not very motivated due to pain. probably spend too much time on these machines. Love to hear how it is going, and if its possible to see your findings. If I can help let me know.

Always happy to help. (So long as you are planning an electronic meeting)

I would be more than happy to help if you are still looking for volunteers, I have had crps since 2010.

Hey guys,

Sorry for the late reply. We have conducted a few interviews and tried to extract as much information out of the context as possible in the short space of time. We just finished a couple days of ideation last week and have generated about 50 ideas that we would like to share with you if you have 5 mins to browse them?

Here is the document:

I should add that this is the first ideation phase where we really go out the box, so some concepts might seem a bit wacky or vague. We really do not intend on upsetting anyone if this is the case, we just want to bring these ideas forward as a discussion. The ideas become more elaborate as we move forward.

We are interested to know if there any gaps in our knowledge/understanding, what you think of the ideas, which ones you gravitate to and if there are any underlying issues in the ideas you think are important (that perhaps the idea itself doesn't address).

Again thank you so much for helping us! We have really gotten some incredible insights and I hope through this project we can do something to help :)

Very best to you all,

Andy and Tay

I like the "utilising waiting times" suggestion. I also like the outsource task app. This could be great for volunteering in the community. And reddit, education toolbox,

Hey Rowantree, thanks for your feedback :) Are you in touch with volunteer groups in your area?

Hi Andy, this sounds like a good project i hope you manage to get some of the ideas out and working.

myself i have suffered chronic pain for many years and it is just getting worse, trying to get help is just about impossible, with myself i have only been back in UK for just over a year and have no idea what is available in this area if there was a place that you could just drop into to get information or just a coffee and a chat with other people who are in similar position, since i have been back the local council have give me a blue badge for the car and a free bus pass which would be great if i could walk as far as the bus stop is, i applied for DLA and they just refused and said they did not think i was bad enough to qualify for it even before they had anyone check me when i asked for an appeal form they just said ok they now say i am entitled to the lower rate of help in the home and i get £21 per week i asked the army to review my case and they arranged a medical but whilst there my neck went into spasm and the doctor said she had seen enough but when they eventually (18 months) sent me a reply they said they have decided i was no worse than the last time they had done a review over 4 years before and on that one i had to put in a appeal as they refused it but at the appeal they told me it was obvious that i was well over 40% disabled at the time but they had to try and work out how bad i would have been 2 years before as that was when i first asked them to reassess me and that they recommend i put in for a further review straight away but as i could not be bothered with trying again straight away i left it for a further two years and now i am back in the same position i was 2 years ago no matter how bad you get they just reply that you are not any worse that the last time and leave it unless you ask for an appeal and that can take a further couple of years to get sorted out.

good luck with the project if i can help in any way please message me.

regards Poppy Ann.

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