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21 January 2020

Cyclists at the Tour Down Under University of South Australia researcher Associate Professor Tasha Stanton will join forces with cycling legend Anna Meares and para-cyclist Dan Van Der Laan to break down some of the most common myths about injury recovery and pain at a public talk at the Santos Tour Down Under today.

Based on the latest findings in pain research, Assoc Prof Stanton will share tips on how anyone can tap into their brain’s power to heal in the ‘Masterclass – Myth-busting Pain 101: The Cycling Edition’ at the City of Adelaide Tour Village this afternoon.  

Assoc Prof Stanton says the session aims to help people understand how they might be able manage their own pain and recovery in a cycling context by learning how to retrain the body’s protective systems that are the cause of pain.

“The session isn’t about downplaying how hard it can be to live with pain; it’s about providing a message of hope – that science has proven that if we change our knowledge about pain and our mindset, we can change pain and how it affects our lives,” she says.

“In our work, we refer a lot to the term bioplasticity – the inbuilt systems in our body that are designed to protect us, such as the pain system and the immune system.

“The good news is we are bioplastic. Our systems are updating all the time – cell growth and different signals delivered to our body’s receptors mean that we are constantly changing. In this way, we are in a new person every couple of days.

“Research shows that we can use this to our advantage – we can use the very systems that alert our brain to danger and cause us to feel pain to help us overcome injuries and reduce the amount of pain we feel.”

Some of the myths Assoc Prof Stanton will address include:  

  • The amount of pain you feel measures the severity of the injury
  • If you have persistent, chronic pain, there is no hope of getting better
  • Medical scans such as ultrasounds and x-rays are essential in treating injuries
  • It’s all downhill from here – we will never be as fit/pain-free/healthy as we are right now

 The session will include a Question and Answer segment chaired by Assoc Prof Stanton with expert cyclists, Meares and Van Der Laan, to learn more about their own comebacks after severe injury.

A Doctor of the University of South Australia, Meares is an Olympic, world, Commonwealth, and national track cyclist champion who struggled with back problems and most famously broke her neck in the World Cup in 2008, coming back less than six months later to win Silver in the Beijing Olympics. Van Der Laan is a para-cyclist who has won multiple national Para-cycling (1km) championships, following a hip injury that resulted in a total hip replacement.

Van Der Laan was a crucial part of the Pain Revolution, a regional education tour to teach people about pain led by the Body in Mind research group based out of UniSA. He credits his participation in the Pain Revolution as a turning point in his recovery from injury.

Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank cyclist Lauren Stephens – who has just finished riding in this year’s Women’s Santos Tour Down Under – will also be on hand to answer questions at the session.   

Masterclass: Myth-busting Pain 101: The Cyclists’ Edition will take place from 4:30pm-5:30pm today, Tuesday, January 21, at the Ziptrak Spokes Zone, City of Adelaide Tour Village. For more information, go to the Santos Tour Down Under website.

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Contact for interview:  Associate Professor Tasha Stanton office (08) 8302 2090 email tasha.stanton@unisa.edu.au
Media contact: Rosanna Galvin office (08) 8302 0578 email: rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au
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