What is Chronic Pain?

  • The term ‘chronic pain’ refers to long term pain which is pain that has lasted for longer than 3 months. It may be there all the time or come and go.
  • Your chronic pain may have started because of an illness or accident or there may have been no apparent reason for why it began.
  • Chronic pain is difficult to treat
  • All these things can make your pain condition very difficult to understand, both for you, and your relatives and friends.
  • People with this condition are often referred to the Pain Clinic.

What happens at the Pain Clinic?

  • At the Pain Clinic a Doctor who specialises in the management of chronic pain will give you advice on the different treatments that might be helpful.
  • If you have had several treatments but the pain still keeps coming back or if there are no other medical treatments or operations available to cure the pain the Doctor at the Pain Clinic may refer you to the Pain Management Service.

What is the Pain Management Service?

The Pain Management Service is different from the Pain Clinic and does not offer any medical treatments for chronic pain but is set up to help you to cope with your pain better through:

  • Understanding the pain and what is wrong
  • Learning new ways of managing everyday activities, without making the pain worse
  • Getting fitter, stronger and more flexible
  • Changing old habits which are no longer useful
  • Finding better ways of managing your pain medication
  • Helping you to communicate with others about your needs
  • Learning skills for coping with the feelings of sadness, worry or anger that sometimes come with chronic pain
  • Helping you to manage stress
  • Making a plan for when things go wrong
  • Helping you to manage work (if this applies to you)

There is a Pain Management Service covering Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Gloucestershire patients are seen at either Gloucester or Cheltenham and Herefordshire patients are seen at Ross-on-Wye.

What’s the first step?

  • The first thing that usually happens after you have been referred to the Pain Management Service is that you will be invited to an Introductory Session.
  • The Introductory Session gives you a chance to visit the Pain Management Service and find out more about us.
  • The Introductory Session is open to a number of people with chronic pain and you are welcome to bring a family member or friend along with you.
  • The Introductory Session lasts for about two hours and there If you have any questions about this, please ask one of the Pain Management Team.

What happens at this individual appointment?

  • This appointment is in two parts and can take up to an hour and a half altogether but you will be able to move around if you find sitting for this length of time difficult. There is also a break half way through.
  • You will meet individually with either a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapist, to talk about how the pain affects what you can do physically. You will also meet separately with a Psychologist to talk about how the pain affects your life.
  • You will be asked to fill in some questionnaires which should only take a few minutes. This helps us to find out more about you and your pain.
  • You might be asked if you would like a place on a Pain Management Programme if you and the Pain Management Team agree that it would be helpful to you.
  • The Pain Management Team may feel that you do not need a full Pain Management Programme but you may need some individual help and in that case, one-to-one sessions might be recommended instead.