Essay Competition Winners 2023

The Pain Relief Foundation continues to run this competition each year in the hope of inspiring medical students into a career in Pain. 2023 seen another great response to the competition from all over the UK. last year all of the entries were impressive and competition was strong once again making it a tough job for our judges to decide on the final winners.   After considerable deliberation the winners presented there essays on Friday 23rd February.

Below are the winning entries presented at the WCFT and PRI Research and Education to an audience of Pain Professionals and were very well received. All winners were awarded with the  prize of £500.

Jess Dudley : Traditional Chinese Medicine and its Role in Chronic Pain Management

Jess recently graduated from the University of Leeds and now employed at Harrogate District Hospital on the Acute Frailty Ward. Her professional interests lie in chronic pain and palliative care. Inspired by her experiences in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including a course and elective in rural India, In her essay she aimed to explore TCM’s holistic principles. In contrast to conventional approaches, TCM addresses root imbalances holistically, considering lifestyle, emotions, and external factors. The essay examines the potential roles of herbal medicines and dietary therapy in conjunction with Western medicine.

In conclusion, the essay advocates for the integration of TCM into Western pain treatments, aiming to provide patients with a broader and potentially more effective strategy.

Esther Perry: Intrinsically Linked: The Importance of Managing Mental Health Alongside Chronic Pain

Esther is a second-year medical student at the University of Leeds and currently interested in pathology and radiology, amongst many others. In the future she hopes to get involved in research. Outside of university she is learning British Sign Language and volunteering. Her presentation will give a brief introduction to the many links between chronic pain and mental health. These will be divided into social, psychological, and physical factors, specifically looking at the impacts of anxiety and depression. She will also explore some methods to support mental health and wellbeing in patients with chronic pain, commenting on some advantages and disadvantages with these therapies.

Rosie Dale: Chronic pelvic pain: how effective are current diagnostic and treatment guidelines in the field of chronic pelvic pain?

Rosie is a 27-year-old Leeds graduate and foundation year one doctor, currently working in Glasgow. She intercalated at the University of Bristol in Global Health (BSc) and has an interest in anaesthetics, women’s health, and paediatrics. She chose to write her essay on chronic pelvic pain (CPP) as it has been a condition she has come across often during GP and gynaecology based placements, and there seems to be a limited understanding of the complexity of diagnosing and managing various forms of CPP. The talk will give a brief outline of the terms used surrounding chronic pelvic pain, as well as the aetiology and causes. Greater focus will be placed on how CPP is diagnosed and managed, particularly from a bio-psycho-social perspective. This will include looking at management methods such as surgery, medication, psychological interventions, and complementary therapies, such as yoga, that may prove useful in managing symptoms. In the majority of cases, CPP cannot be cured. Therefore, this talk will focus on how individuals can reach the best long-term outcomes, and areas in which research can be taken further to improve the quality of life of those with CPP.