Chronic Pain

The documents and links contained within this web page will explain more about chronic pain, how this is different from acute pain and a bit more about how chronic pain is managed. Once completed you will have a better understanding of pain management and have the tools to improve your quality of life.

Chronic pain affects millions of people in the UK, so you’re not alone. It can have a huge impact on your quality of life and can also affect the lives of your family and those around you. Our goal is to use this website and other resources to support and empower you to improve your quality of life and live with pain.

Understanding Chronic Pain

The “What is chronic pain?” link below provides an information leaflet for people who have been told they have chronic widespread pain, also known as chronic pain.

Medication in Chronic Pain

Medication often has a limited role in chronic pain and can come with side effects.

The benefit from taking medication should always be more than any side effects you may have. Only you:

  • know how bad your pain is
  • are able to say if your medication is helping
  • know what side effects you are having

Opioid Side Effects & Reducing and Stopping Opioids

For information on the side effects of opioids click here and for information on how to reduce and stop opioids click here.

Patient Expert Chronic Pain Videos

Chronic Pain – An Introduction

This video is one of a series designed to help those with chronic pain that has been fully medically investigated. The videos cover a series of topics and aim to help those with long term pain gain a better understanding of the pain itself. They also provide help in dealing successfully with the effects of chronic pain, such as poor sleep, stress, lowered activity and flare ups.

Understanding Chronic Pain

Why do we need to understand pain?

  • What we understand we can manage
  • We all think we know what pain is
  • All pain is not the same
  • There are two parts:
    • Part 1 – what is pain and how it arises
    • Part 2 – what is chronic pain and can it be managed?

Chronic Pain and Flare-ups

This is not necessarily a sign that things are worsening and you will find they do settle. Sometimes we can identify a reason for a flare-up and there are things you can do to reduce how often they occur and how long they may last.

Chronic Pain and Activity

Simple, everyday activities like walking, swimming, gardening and dancing can ease some of the pain directly by blocking pain signals to the brain.

Activity also helps lessen pain by stretching stiff and tense muscles, ligaments and joints.

Try to be active every day instead of only on the good days when you’re not in so much pain. This may reduce the number of bad days you have and help you feel more in control. Try to avoid overdoing it on good days to avoid payback and increasing bad days.

Reading Resources
Telephone Helpline Numbers
NHS Help & Resources
Physical Activity Prescription

A physical activity prescription is a free gym pass that can be provided by the Practice Nurse or GP. It also allows for a personalised exercise programme to help with your goals and own needs.

Psychological Support with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Chronic pain involves thoughts, feelings and behaviours. CBT is a form of therapy that helps us to retrain thoughts, feelings and behaviours to help you manage pain so it doesn’t manage you. It helps you to look after your whole self and improve your long term quality of life. It is an 8 week online course supported by a therapist who will check in on you weekly. It takes around 1 hour a week but you can go at your own pace, in your own home. You need to give it a chance to work so a bit like a tablet or exercise its results will build up over time. If interested your GP or Practice Nurse can refer you for it.

Antidepressants And/Or Pain Medication

Antidepressants and/or pain medications can help improve your mood and in doing so will help with pain management as depression and chronic pain are often linked.

TENS Machine

A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes. The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. These can be purchased online or talk to your local pharmacist.

Occupational Therapy Support (OT)

Our practice based Occupational Therapist, Anne Sanderson, can work with you to make a holistic review of your needs. Together with the OT, you can set personalised, practical and realistic goals to help increase your quality of life by managing your health and being able to do the activities that you need or want to do. For further information click here.

Occupational Health Support

Occupational health support is a specialist branch of medicine that focuses on the physical and mental well-being of employees in the workplace. Occupational health aims to prevent work-related illness and injury by: encouraging safe working practices for example ergonomics (studying how you work and how you could work better). 

Physiotherapy Led Chronic Pain Classes

Physiotherapy led chronic pain classes are accessed through our community physiotherapist colleagues and are done in a group setting to help improve functioning and confidence with self-management.

Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

CMHT is a multidisciplinary group of doctors, nurses, and allied health care professionals who work with people experiencing debilitating mental health problems.

Pain Team

The pain team is made up of consultants, specialised physiotherapists and a psychologist who help people experiencing pain which causes a large impact on day to day life. It is a rehabilitative service so it cannot cure pain but instead help people to learn to live with their pain and improve their quality of life as much as possible.