Play the Pain 


Play the Pain is a playful mHealth platform, designed to put chronic pain patients and their caregivers at the heart of pain research.

Some realities

    1. Chronic pain (CP) is a debilitating public health concern, affecting one in five Canadians.
    2. Many factors (like age, gender, socioeconomic status, even culture) impact vulnerability to suffering chronic pain.
    3. Researchers, clinicians, pharmacists, even policy-makers acknowledge that it is very difficult to quantify and qualify pain.
    4. Clinicians acknowledge that chronic pain needs to be treated in a personalized manner.
    5. For this reason, the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is now a governmental priority.


These realities are why we are developing Play the Pain.

We have envisioned Play the Pain to become

A digital citizen’s laboratory to empower patients to evaluate the efficacy of behavioral and creative therapies that help cope with pain.

Play the Pain App is designed to allow patients document the playful and creative ways in which they cope with pain; and to gather quantitative data that allows them to make observations about the efficacy of alternative treatments for pain.

Our interdisciplinary project aims to explore the ethical, practical and cultural tensions between lab-based research that focuses on medical conditions, versus data-driven research that focuses on self-monitoring and sharing of one’s living conditions through digital health frameworks.

We welcome additional academic and industry partnerships.

Core Team Members

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Dr Najmeh Khalili-Mahani Principle Investigator
Affiliate Assistant Professor
Bart Simon Collaborator
Social Scientist
Dr Tristan Glatard Co-investigator
Computer and data scientist
Rosanna Maule Collaborator
Film and Media Scholar
Dr Mathieu Roy co-investigator
Neuropsychologist and Clinical Pain Researcher
Marie-Paule Grimaldi Advisor
Poet and Activist
Chris Salter Collaborator
Digital Media Artist and Qualified Self Scholar
Sandra Woods Patient Partner


An early working prototype is available for testing on Android devices.

Please contact us for more information.

We held a two-day workshop in Concordia University’s 4th Space. The event was open-to-all and offered various art-therapeutic activities. And allowed us to discuss the ethical, practical, and cultural tensions around the topic of digital healthcare in the context of treating pain and related anxieties.

Click for more information.

 Play the Pain: a ludic informatic platform for healing by creativity becomes the first project from Concordia University to receive the AUDACE grant.
Capstone Project is completed and the first working prototype is launched.
Play the Pain is shortlisted to receive the AUDACE grant.
Capstone students (Software Engineering) begin implementing the first prototype.
Sebastian Alvares receives a CUSRA award to develop Play the Pain.