A Tangible Understanding of Chronic Pain

Christina Fyhn, Jacob Buur


Pain is essential as a warning system for the human body. For some people, however, pain develops into a chronic condition. What makes it particularly difficult to care for patients with chronic pain conditions is that pain is an individual, subjective feeling. Traditionally, medical experts recommend that patients express their pain experience on a numeric scale or with standardised terms, but patients find this too simplistic to convey their condition. Also, the challenge that pain is a social issue, affecting patients’ work and social life severely, urged us to look for alternative ways in which people might communicate their pain experiences. In this project we set out to use design materials to ‘design’ better communication means for patients to convey their pain experiences. In the process we realised a need to develop a tangible vocabulary for grasping what pain is really about.

Full Text: