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Issue:- 12 December 2013

Patient choir casts out pain with carols

PATIENTS with chronic pain in Southport are using song to help treat their symptoms.

The Good Vibrations choir formed in April and now around 20 patients meet each week at Woodvale Community Centre to practice.

The choir will be carol singing; their first public performance; on Friday, 13 December 2013, at 11.30am in Ainsdale Centre for Health and Well-being, near Southport.

Karen Moss, a pain sufferer herself and primary school teacher at Lydiate Primary School, set up the choir with the support of Dr Becky Simm, Principal Clinical Psychologist at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust's Community Pain Service.

Becky said:- "There is a growing body of evidence that singing in a group can improve people's well-being, although the reasons for this are not yet fully understood. Karen volunteers her time to run the choir and the combination of her music skills and her expertise as a pain sufferer works really well. It certainly seems to have an effect from what members of the choir tell me and is also shown by improvements on their well-being measures."

At least one member misses a dose of their pain relief medication on the afternoon the choir meets to sing.

Karen added:- "The choir idea started when I realised how much singing was helping me to manage my conditions. I asked Dr Simm whether it might affect others in the same way. The pilot choir was started and has grown in many ways ever since. The members talk about how singing through the pain helps them to manage. The nature of singing together, providing a synchrony within the group, seems to affect us for the better."

Choir member Clare Patterson, from Southport, said:- "Singing takes your mind off the pain and lifts your spirits. You go away really happy."

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