Professor to talk about chronic pain at Science Café in Chilliwack

Professor to talk about chronic pain at Science Café in Chilliwack

Louisa Giles will speak about her own experiences at an event at the University of the Fraser Valley

When Louisa Giles speaks at an upcoming event, she will have a simple message: chronic pain is often invisible, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

She will be speaking about her own experience with chronic pain during the Science Café, which will be held on Tuesday, February 22. 27 at the UFV Chilliwack Library.

Giles, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UFV, has had chronic pain since falling off a bike in 2009. Two more concussions followed. Giles had been suffering from constant headaches at rest for the past 15 years, and over time his post-concussion symptoms turned into musculoskeletal pain throughout his entire body.

“The best way to describe this pain is that my legs now feel like I had a flu shot yesterday,” she explained. “I also experience a lot of brain fog and cognitive fatigue, and trying to manage these symptoms with a full-time work schedule is challenging.”

None of this is visible. If you saw Giles in the classroom or wandering the halls of UFV's Chilliwack campus, you might never suspect they were anything but friends. And that's the problem.

“Most of the time, there seems to be nothing wrong with me,” she said. “Part of what I'll be talking about at the Science Café is how little things that people don't think twice about can have a big impact on people like me who seem 'normal.'”

Giles rattles off a list of things that exacerbate her problems, the main ones being lighting (natural vs. artificial) and background noise. There are things that could ease her pain, but she says there is a reluctance to stand up for herself because she is worried about how she will be perceived. She does not have a wheelchair, splint or cane.

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“If I broke my leg, no one would force me to stand for three hours. But through no fault of their own, people can't always recognize what they can't see,” Giles said. “In order not to feel as much pain, I need To this, this, this, and this. But if I ask this, and this, and this, I feel like I'm high maintenance, and an inconvenience. I think people look at me that way, so I only ask for one thing.

“What I want is awareness. I want to make people think about how to make the environment accessible to people, beyond physical accessibility.

Giles will pair her presentation with that of Cynthia Thompson, a UFV fellow who is also speaking at the Science Café.

“We collaborated on a clinical trial that talked not only about the medical aspect, but also about the psychosocial aspect, and how your emotions can fuel your pain,” Giles said.

The third presenter is also from the UFV Department of Kinesiology. Brian Justin specializes in pain management through physical movement and fitness training. For interested participants, Justin asks to bring a yoga mat.

Science Café is February. 27 and runs from 2:30pm to 4:30pm and is open to the UFV community and the public. The library is located in Building A on the UFV Chilliwack Campus in Canada Education Park (45190 Caen Ave.). For more information, contact Dan De Groot at [email protected].

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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