Describing pain: using corpus linguistic techniques to investigate language used by sufferers to express and communicate their experiences of pain

Jane Demmen

LAEL, Lancaster University

This talk describes the analysis of ways in which pain is described by people experiencing a particular health condition, trigeminal neuralgia (TN), in comparison to people experiencing a wider range of painful conditions. The research was prompted by a request from a healthcare professional with a view to gaining a more nuanced understanding of the ways people voluntarily describe pain relating to TN and pain relating to more generic musculoskeletal conditions, to assist in clinical practice and patient communication. Using a range of corpus linguistic techniques, the use of different terms to describe and evaluate pain are explored in two corpora of online forum contributions, with particular focus on the pain descriptors which feature in the short version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (a widely-used instrument in healthcare settings in the diagnosis and treatment of pain).

Week 10 2022/2023

Thursday 15th December 2022

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