Looking for a little more information on what exactly is going to be discussed in each plenary session?


We have a great lineup of plenary speakers for our 2022 Annual meeting. The conference will open with the IASP Global Year plenary lecture on the “global year for translating pain knowledge into practice” from Professor Mark Hutchinson. From a neuroimmunopharmacology lens, Professor Hutchinson will discuss the role that convergence science plays in creating future solutions to the challenge of measuring and mitigating pain.

This first plenary session will continue with Professor Beverly Thorn providing perspectives on chronic pain and cognitive-behavioural approaches in highly disadvantaged individuals considering the issues of education, literacy, and disparity, discussing current efforts to overcome these issues. 

The afternoon plenary will bring together Professor Andrew Rice discussing cannabinoid analgesia and the evidence for benefits and harms before leading into a professional debate on “is medicinal cannabis the next opioid crisis? Perspectives from pain, people and policy”. Medicinal cannabis is a hotly debated topic, often argued by passionate voices with firmly held beliefs. But what does the evidence really say about this product in the pain sector? And what are the political and consumer implications of this debate? This session invites you to join a lively expert panel discussion exploring all sides of medicinal cannabis.


Day 2 will begin with the Sunderland lecture, where Professor Beverly Thorn will revisit Melzack and Wall’s gate control model of pain and explore its more recent clinical applications in patient pain education and cognitive-behavioural therapy. This framework may help patients use the brain as an ally in chronic pain self-management

Dr Christine Barry will follow with the Tess Cramond lecture on translating pain science to practice for women’s health. We will hear how macrophage-sensory neuron signalling pathways may present targets for new treatment approaches, with a specific case study of a robust mouse model of vulvodynia.

The afternoon plenary on the second day will change the perspective to focus on adolescents and young adults with pain. We will hear from Dr Mark Alcock, who will talk about the perspectives of a tertiary interdisciplinary paediatric pain service on the complexity of pain in adolescents and young adults, their needs, the challenges they face when seeking help.

Day 2 will conclude with Professor Andrew Rice’s update on diagnosis and clinical assessment of patients with neuropathic pain. Professor Rice will share insights into the new ICD-11 that the WHO officially launched in January 2022, and how this important new resource can augment clinical practice and research.


The conference’s final day will begin with hearing from Dr Matthew Bryant, who will discuss the gap in health status between Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians, which is unacceptably wide.

We then will have Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen diving into a discussion on the changing nature of prescription opioid-related harms and an update on the impact of recent policy changes, including the rescheduling of codeine and future directions for opioid policy research.

The morning session will conclude with our recipient of the 2022 Rising Star award, Dr Adrian Traeger from The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health. He will share his research on the overdiagnosis of low back pain and how the issue of overdiagnosis in health care is a major health challenge globally.

The last session of the conference will include the Bonica lecture with Professor Steve Kamper on pain, health and lifestyle. Professor Kamper will discuss if we have solved the numerous obstacles related to bringing together clinical care and support for a healthy lifestyle and if integrated models of care are the way forward.

Following will be Associate Professor Brett Graham, who will share updated views of spinal modules that process our sensory world. Times have changed since the original Gate Control Theory. In the advent of several technological advances over the recent decades, scientists have built on this scaffold, revealing highly complex circuits with many more critical elements than first appreciated. Prof Graham will summarise how our understanding of the spinal gate has evolved, the range of opportunities to develop new pain therapies, and better explain the origins of pain to patients and the wider community. 

Finally, the last plenary will be presented by Ms Hayley Leake, recipient of the 2021 Cops for Kids Clinical Research Grant. She will share her research utilising a novel co-design approach, that engages youth with persistent pain in the process of collaboratively designing social media content, to disseminate key pain science concepts.

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About Australian Pain Society

The Australian Pain Society is a multidisciplinary body aiming to relieve pain and related suffering through leadership in clinical practice, education, research and public advocacy.


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