Communications Center MDC.C

From Pain to Suffering: Determining the Driving Factors of Burden and Disability in Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent and disabling conditions worldwide. Despite the devastating impact that chronic pain can have in limiting quality of life, we still have not yet been able to provide effective strategies to alleviate its burdens and understand its nature from a scientific perspective. However, mounting evidence substantiates that persistent or recurrent pain does not neatly correspond to the suffering that accompanies it. Therefore, a promising strategy for future research is to focus less on the pain and more on the aspect of suffering itself. The aim of the proposed conference is to motivate this shift in debate, both theoretically and practically, and to prepare the ground to better understand the driving factors of the burden and disability in chronic pain. Addressing this challenge is a genuine interdisciplinary endeavour bringing together philosophers, quantitative and qualitative researchers, as well as clinical practitioners.

Participation in the conference is free of charge. Registration is open until the 21st of April 2024.


Luisenstr. 56
10117 Berlin




  • 02.05.2024 12:30:00 - Talks by Sabrina Coninx, Michael Brady, Fredrik Svenaeus, Sascha Fink
  • 03.05.2024 10:00:00 - Talks by Henning Reimann, Leonie Korban, Christian Büchel, Markus Ploner
  • 04.05.2024 10:00:00 - Talks by Susanna Asseyer, Stefan Büchi, Peter Stilwell, Anna-Christin Willert


From pain to suffering: Conceptual, empirical, and clinical challenges
  • Sabrina Coninx (VU Amsterdam)
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
Three theories of suffering
  • Michael Brady (University of Glasgow)
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
The phenomenology of chronic pain: Embodiment and alienation
  • Fredrik Svenaeus (Södertörn University)
    Stockholm, Sweden
Ontologies of pain
  • Sascha Fink (Magdeburg University)
    Magdeburg, Germany
From pain to suffering: A cerebral perspective
  • Henning Reimann (Max Delbrück Center)
    Berlin, Germany
  • Smadar Bustan (Institut Curie)
    Saint-Cloud, France
Social influences on pain
  • Leonie Korban (Center for Neuroscience Research)
    Lyon, France
Mechanisms of pain modulation
  • Christian Büchel (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf)
    Hamburg, Germany
EEG measures of pain and suffering
  • Markus Ploner (Technical University Munich)
    Munich, Germany
From pain to suffering: The clinical impact of chronic pain
  • Susanna Asseyer (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
    Berlin, Germany
PRISM (Pictorial Representation of Illness and Self Measure) – A novel visual tool to assess pain-related suffering in clinical practice
  • Stefan Büchi (University of Zurich)
    Zurich, Switzerland
Alleviating pain-related suffering by restoring or reconstructing one’s sense of self
  • Peter Stilwell (University of Southern Denmark)
    Odense, Denmark
Total pain – A palliative care perspective
  • Anna-Christin Willert (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
    Berlin, Germany



Susanna Asseyer (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
Sabrina Coninx (Department of Philosophy

VU Amsterdam)
Henning Reimann (Max Delbrück Center


Nadège E. Leprêtre
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin