1. Desiree

    Hi, I really liked the information provided. I learned a lot. I really had to pay attention to the video of the video game because the narrator’s accent was a little strong and I was not expecting it, but in the end I understood what the game is all about. If I had chronic back pain I would totally use that game so that others could have a better understanding that the pain does exist. Great site, videos, and images. Hope this comment helps.

    • Thabo Nkomo

      Hi  Desiree,

      It’s easy to have empathy for someone suffering from pain if you can see the scars. What if you can’t? Chronic pain sufferers have to deal with that question all the time. How can they make people believe them if no no one sees their aches and pains. I think the genius of this interactive empathy game is that it enables non-pain sufferers to see other’s pain. This fosters empathy.

  2. Jamie

    So true. Just because you can’t see someone’s pain doesn’t mean it’s not there. I echo Desiree’s sentiments. I think it would be useful if in the future there were workshops, maybe in community colleges or civic centers, that employed the game to bring more awareness of what it’s like for pain sufferers to live in daily pain. Do you think something like that could happen?

    • Hi Jamie,
      What a great suggestion. I think that before this “empathy game” can be used for community centers such as libraries it first has to go through more extensive trials and peer reviews. I’m confident, though, that this will happen quickly and it won’t be long before the technology is available to everyone. So to answer your question, I definitely think this game will be employed by community service groups with a focus on health issues. I also think community colleges will be happy to offer workshops.

  3. Kathleen

    I almost cried as I read your post. It really hit home. I have suffered from chronic back pain for 7 years due to a car accident. I feel like a burden sometimes, and that hurts. I feel like screaming at all the people who don’t get what I’m going through. Now I can show them that I’m not faking it.

    • Hi Kathleen,
      One of the biggest frustrations that chronic pain sufferers have , as you are well aware off, is that people can’t see their pain in the same way they can see scars on a body. As a result people such as yourself have a difficult time making people understand that they are not faking it. As a pain sufferer once told me,” of all the things I could fake, why would I fake having chronic pain? There are better ways to get attention.” Well, it’s sentiments like those that made me want to bring this “empathy game” to the attention of more people—especially non-pain sufferers. Please understand that there are people out there who won’t make you feel like a burden and understand your situation. Reach out. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. I truly wish you the best. Keep a positive attitude. Remember that you are more that your pain.

  4. Megan

    Wow! What a great way for these wiz kids to apply their education and make a real difference. I applaud them. Using a game to see someone’s pain is a great way to build empathy. I think so many pain sufferers just want us to acknowledge what they are going through. The video with the woman explaining her daily experiences with pain, and how it gives people the wrong perceptions of her, is heart breaking. I will most certainly try to be more a more emphatic person. I think we can all try harder to be more understanding to those in chronic pain.

    • Megan,

      Those kids who came up with the empathy game should indeed be applauded for finding a way to make others more aware of the isolation and hopelessness that people with chronic pain often feel. A very impressive way of combining brains with heart.

  5. Lady Grasha

    I completely agree with this post 100%. Sometimes it could be very difficult to make people believe you when you talked to them about how serious the pain you are going through is, especially when there is no scar whatsoever to show for it; I have once been there and it hurts me more that people can’t ‘see’ my pain. This post is really worth sharing and I’m doing that right away!

    • Hi Lady Grasha,
      You really summarized the experiences of a lot of pain sufferers. Indeed, when there’s no scar whatsoever it’s difficult for a pain sufferer to explain that even if they look okay they are in fact not okay. Chronic pain can be exhausting and pain sufferers often get tired of explaining how they feel hour-to hour- and sometimes minute-to minute. It’s just easier to put on a brave face and just smile. I hope that this post can enable the non-pain sufferer to be more open minded.

  6. Donald S. Blevins

    wow!! This is really awesome. I have a friend who always tells me about his pains and how it affects his regular daily activity, now I believe with this he can prove to his boss he truly has the pains.

    • Hi Donald,
      What I like about this technology is that it enables a non-pain sufferer to have empathy for a person who experiences wide spread chronic pain. The technology makes empathy possible by allowing anyone to “see” just how hard it is to maneuver your body at will when suffering from chronic pain. This has the potential to make a tremendous impact in the field of health technology. Very exciting news that I was glad to share.

  7. Harry M. Perez

    This will really help in giving medications. This is such a smart move. Technology is really becoming helpful in letting us become more empathic with those suffering from issues like back pain.

    • Hi Harry,
      Your comments are on target because in some circles this technology is referred to as “the empathy game” because it allows non-pain sufferers to see the struggles of doing take-for-granted activities while experiencing chronic wide spread pain. I think this technology has the potential to bring greater awareness to how pain impact relationships with loved ones.

  8. I understand how chronic pain works. My mother has several non-visible problems that cause her major pain. Sometimes she cannot even lift her arms. She just fights through it though because she has been on painkillers before and says that getting herself off the medication caused her more pain than just living with the pain she has.

    I really like this new possibility of people being able to at least envision being stuck in the same place with the same problems. This game could help break some important boundaries.

    • Hi Brittaney,

      My mother is also a chronic pain sufferer, so I understand where you’re coming from. I also know all too well what you mean when you say your mother is in such pain that sometimes she cannot lift her arms. I have gone through a similar thing with my mom. I completely agree with you that this empathy game can break some important boundaries when it comes to people better understanding what it is like to live with chronic pain.

  9. suzanne

    This is amazing. Thank you for talking about the game.
    I’m naturally a very empathetic person but I know a few people who could certainly learn a lesson on empathy. Just because the pain is not obvious, doesn’t mean it’s not there. There are many silent sufferers all around us. We need to be much more sensitive to their pain.

    • Hi Suzanne,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Yes, it’s true, unfortunately, that many people have a difficult time empathizing with pain they can’t see. The result is, as you point out, that many suffer in silence. I think this game can help make non-pain sufferers more empathetic. Blessings to you also.

  10. Hello Thabo, what an amazing article this is. When we can see others’ pain it allows us to also be more compassionate and caring. And it makes the world a much sweeter place. I am so grateful to read this article. There are so many physical ailments that are invisible and yet people suffer all the time. To offer comfort is such a blessing. Thank you.
    In peace and gratitude, ariel

    • Hi Ariel, always a pleasure to hear from you as you are an inspiring spirit whose words are full of compassion for others. It’s obvious to me, from the posts that I have read on your website, that you already have very high empathic skills, and this game most likely just reinforced what you instinctively know. That said, I’m glad you found the article rewarding. Thank you.

  11. Wow. I have worked with athletes for a good part of my life. Whenever we heard a ‘click’ ‘crack’ or ‘crunch’ the whole class or performing group would freeze and look in the direction of the sound.
    It could be a bad day for someone, or the end of their career. We were certainly close to their pain.
    But most people have a different experience with this.
    The idea of using a game to develop empathy is so intriguing!

    • Hi Dianne,
      I think the idea of using a game to develop empathy can make it easier for us to better understand the challenges that people with chronic pain have as they try to live their daily lives and remain connected to family and community. Once we have this perspective–of putting ourselves in the place of a chronic pain sufferer–we are in a much better position to offer constructive help.

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