Letitia Smith relaxes in the afternoon. Relaxation and meditation is one way used to manage chronic pain.
Letitia Smith relaxes in the afternoon. Relaxation and meditation is one way used to manage chronic pain. Brenda Strong

Taking it to the World

 THE girl from Gladstone who went all the way to the European Parliament in Brussels – that's Lesley Brydon.

Ms Brydon lives in Sydney where she works in her role as CEO of Painaustralia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to research on managing chronic pain. Earlier this month, she and her colleague Professor Michael Cousins were invited to present Painaustralia's National Pain Strategy to the European Chapters of the IASP at the European Parliament.

“I tell you what, sitting there in that vast auditorium, sitting at the desk with the microphone and the translator, and as you speak it is translated instantly into 16 languages, that it is a very daunting experience,” she told The Observer.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that occurs daily for more than three months and Ms Brydon says the condition is yet to be fully recognised. “Chronic pain is probably the most neglected healthcare area in the world,” said Ms Brydon. “And with our population getting older, the problem will only get bigger.

“Some of the most forward-thinking research is being done in Australia,” she said. “It is uncommon for non-Europeans to be invited to address the European Charters, so it was great that we created something the rest of the world can take notice of.”

Ms Brydon is the daughter of Gladstone pharmacist and councillor William Barker. She followed in his footsteps, becoming a pharmacist and working in Gladstone before marrying and moving to Sydney. She switched to journalism and then communications before starting her own PR company in the early 1970s. She “retired” three years ago from her position as CEO of the Advertising Federation of Australia, but retirement doesn't seem to match her DNA.

She was drawn to Painaustralia not only by an inability to stop working, but also by her own experience with chronic pain.

“I've suffered arthritis since I was in my 20s,” she said. “I've got two titanium hips and one titanium shoulder.

“I've had to learn to manage (chronic pain) and I've done it through meditation and exercises and other things like that.

“I've brought together my skills (as a communications specialist) because what we need to do now is raise awareness of chronic pain as an actual disease.”



How $4M container exchange program is helping CQ wildlife

Premium Content How $4M container exchange program is helping CQ wildlife

Supporters of the recycling exchange have helped local wildlife carers raise vital...

MEGA-GALLERY: All the glamour at TSSH formal 2020

Premium Content MEGA-GALLERY: All the glamour at TSSH formal 2020

TSSH students dressed to the nines at their school formal.