Dr Deborah Antcliff

New funding will extend research on activity pacing for chronic pain

Clinical academic physiotherapist, Dr Deborah Antcliff, has been awarded new funding to extend her research on activity pacing for chronic pain.

This is considered a key coping strategy for people with chronic pain, yet at present, the effects of activity pacing on patients’ symptoms are unclear due to the absence of a comprehensive measure of activity pacing or a widely-used and standardised activity pacing guide.

Dr Antcliff, who is an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner in the Bury Integrated Pain Service (NCA) and an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Keele University and the University of Leeds, has previously developed an activity pacing questionnaire during her PhD. The activity pacing questionnaire was developed using a three-stage mixed methods study. This included a consensus method involving patients and healthcare professionals, a questionnaire study, and interviewing patients with chronic pain.

Consequently, the activity pacing questionnaire contains items that reflect the different components of activity pacing, and the questionnaire was found to be acceptable to use by patients. On completion of her PhD, Dr Antcliff was awarded a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Lectureship, during which she developed an activity pacing framework as a guide for healthcare professionals in secondary care.

She has now been successful in her application for funding from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust, together with being awarded a NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) post-doctoral award. The awards will enable her to fully validate the activity pacing questionnaire in primary and secondary care, and translate the activity pacing framework as an intervention for wider use in primary care. She will undertake the research at Keele University over a two-year period, while also continuing a part-time clinical role in the Pain Service.

Dr Antcliff is a Clinical Research Fellow in the NCA Centre for Clinical and Care Research (CCR). The CCR, led by Professor Heather Iles-Smith, aims to develop research leaders among nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, pharmacists, healthcare scientists (NMAPH) and other non-medical staff.

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