In my early years as a medical doctor, I noticed many of my patients believed they just had to endure pain. This idea that, as humans, we simply had to “endure” pain never quite made sense to me, even as a child. I felt that pain was there for a purpose – to tell us something that would otherwise go unnoticed – and that we ought to pay attention it.
Following my medical training, I found there was a significant gap in my knowledge of pain. I understood acute pain and could treat it well, but I wanted a deeper understanding of chronic pain – pain for which the ‘purpose’ was more difficult to distinguish.
This led me into the field of anaesthetics. Upon completing my degree, I moved to Singapore to complete my first pain fellowship. Evidently, my interest in pain only grew during this time. I went on to complete further studies: a Diploma of Pain Medicine in Ireland and now, a second pain fellowship in Australia. I’ve now also completed an additional two years of advanced clinical training in minimally invasive pain procedures. It’s been a long road and a lot of study, but my passion for pain medicine has carried me through.
I believe my role as a doctor is to help patients (and their families) to better understand their pain and guide them towards the solutions most appropriate for their unique condition. I feel very fortunate to be able to help so many people overcome pain.
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to chronic pain. Lifestyle, movement patterns, mental health factors, the gut microbiome; the list goes on and on. The more I learn about pain, the more I lean towards a holistic treatment approach. This usually involves a combination of multidisciplinary care and tailored medical interventions – but always varies depending upon the needs of the patient.