A website has been created to help people who suffer long-term pain to create a garden that shows how they are feeling about it.

The ‘pain garden’ has been designed by Denis Martin, professor of rehabilitation at Teeside University, and Animmersion, a local DigitalCity company, and is supported by Arthritis Research UK.

People suffering from pain can plant elements that express their feelings, such as a ‘disturbing plant’ and an ‘anger tree’. They can also make them thrive or wilt, depending on how their pain develops.

Professor Martin said: “We came up with the idea of using animation and graphic design to illustrate the nature of pain and how it changes.

“When you use the metaphor of a garden, you have the garden as a whole, but also within it distinct elements like plants, trees and water features.

“With pain, there are sensory, emotional and general wellbeing aspects that are discrete in themselves, but when you put them together you have the pain experience.”

People answer questions about their emotions, sensory experiences of pain, and their general wellbeing to create the garden and determine the state of its different elements.

Dominic Lusardi, the managing director of Annimersion, explained: “Different questions target different areas of wellbeing that exist within the garden.

“If you answer positively, part of the garden will be flourishing. If you’re feeling unwell, part of the garden may be wilting – such as the anger tree.

“A patient’s experience of pain becomes something visual that those going through a similar experience can identify with.”

Click here to see a screenshot of the pain garden.