Intractable & Widespread Pain

Persistent though the pain is, overcoming it is akin to a major personal accomplishment

The Department of Health recognises chronic pain as a long-term condition and as a component of other conditions that might stretch beyond certain duration. It is estimated that 14 million people suffer from chronic pain in England. Of these, 25%, or one in four ie. about 3.5 million, had to give up their usual activities including work for at least two weeks during the previous three months.

A person enduring pain will have a very poor quality of life, which is usually as bad as significant neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. Four of the top 12 disabling conditions globally, namely low-back and neck pain, migraine, arthritis, other musculoskeletal conditions, are persistent pain conditions.

The 2008 Chief Medical Officer report states that 25% of pain sufferers lose their jobs and as many as 16% of sufferers feel their chronic pain is so bad that they sometimes want to die. Severe chronic pain is associated with increased risk of mortality, independent of socio-demographic factors and input of pain clinic can help reduce this impact and improve quality of life.

Treatment Methodology

As a specialist in chronic pain treatment, following are the steps which I follow with my patients with intractable and widespread pain. Often this will need input from another member working with in pain service e.g. psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist -

  • Determining if your condition is chronic pain on basis of thorough assessment
  • Investigations if required
  • Listing out possible treatment options
  • Prescribing appropriate pain killers as per your chronic pain condition
  • Plan may include -

    • Treatment with medications

    • Individual psychological assessment and session (referral to psychologist)

    • Pain Management Programme which might be rarely needed to facilitate self management of pain

  • Using state-of-the-art equipment, facility and highly skilled and passionate team

Pain Management Programme (PMP)

PMP is a treatment programme that is considered for a significant number of people suffering from chronic pain and is inclusive of widespread pain which otherwise cannot be treated effectively or cured. Pain Management Programme is group based treatment, so people attending a programme will meet other people with similar difficulties. For some people the prospect of being in a group could be quite daunting. However, despite these initial worries, most people find that being with other people who share similar difficulties is truly a rewarding experience.

PMP treatment approach is guided by an evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) model of chronic pain which recognises many areas of life that chronic pain can affect. The experienced team at Walton Centre consists of physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists and specialist pain consultants. Individual groups are led by these clinicians whose skills reflect the different ways in which chronic pain affects people i.e. physically, practically and emotionally. Many patients report clinically significant improvement in their ability to cope and self manage this otherwise very difficult pain condition.