Passionate about pain and public health: WCPT networks launched

WCPT’s networks of physical therapists with a common professional interest are growing in number and activity. Networks focused on pain and health promotion have now been confirmed, adding to those on aquatic physical therapy, spinal cord injury, ICF, intellectual and developmental disability, and a group for journal editors.

Unlike WCPT subgroups, which also focus on a particular area of physical therapy, WCPT networks do not need to exist as a formal group – they are simply groups of physical therapists who are members of WCPT member organisations who have a common professional interest and who wish to communicate and build knowledge and support.

The new WCPT Pain Network was created by physical therapists Martin Hey, Rafael Torres and Diane Jacobs in the knowledge that there are already enthusiastic physical therapy pain interest groups in many countries, and that they would benefit from collaboration. 

“We wanted to help highlight the impact that sub-optimally managed pain has on worldwide society, and how physical therapy can contribute to assessment, management and reduction,” says Martin Hey, who is Clinical Manager for Pain Services at the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in the UK.

One of the network’s aims is to provide a forum where physical therapy clinicians, academics, researchers and scientists can support colleagues in locations where pain care is developing.

“We will strive to move away from inflexible and outmoded medical models of pain explanation and management,” says Martin Hey. “We strongly believe in the need to support and promote science-based solutions to pain management, supported by good quality, credible and appropriate evidence wherever possible.”

The network will promote accessible quality guidelines, research and care pathways that can improve the effectiveness of physical therapy worldwide.

 “We are all passionate about pain,” says Martin Hey. “Pain and its management are rising up the clinical and political agenda in many countries. We strongly feel that the world`s physical therapists can really stimulate and facilitate substantial progress in this rapidly evolving clinical area.”

In the field of public health, WCPT’s new network is focusing on all aspects of health vital to successful living and working, including health promotion, wellness, disability prevention and issues related to behavioral change.

The facilitator, Andrea Backović Juričan from Slovenia, says the network wants to involve physical therapists who are experts in these areas, encouraging them to exchange evidence-based knowledge, best practices, ideas, opinions and promotional materials.

“We also want to facilitate scientific work, consequently creating changes in the physical therapy educational system and practice, so that it becomes more oriented towards these issues.”

A page about the group is to be posted on the WCPT website shortly. In the meantime, you can apply for membership by sending an email to [email protected]