About Pain Management




About Chronic Pain

About Pain Management

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If you are looking at this site because you are searching for a miracle cure for your chronic pain, you have come to the wrong place!  There are no magic wands to be waved here, just straightforward help/suggestions/guidance on how to effectively manage pain.  Please click here for details of Southern Derbyshire Pain Management Service


What is Pain Management?

A person who is managing chronic pain is in charge of the pain.  Such people have acknowledged pain, and as such do not let the pain dictate their every move and rule their lives.  Pain need not necessarily cause distress, depression and disability.  

Pain management can be defined as the combination of various psychological techniques and practical strategies designed to optimize physical function, quality of life and to reduce emotional distress for people suffering with the effects of chronic pain.  

In short, Pain management is about getting back to normal life.  

Acknowledging the pain

Unfortunately there are many people who are unable or unwilling to effectively manage their pain, and such people are the first to reach for the pill bottle.  By their very nature, i.e. tolerance, dependence and side effects, analgesics should never be considered as the only way of dealing with pain.  

As a nurse, I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say,

"No matter how many tablets I take, it still hurts!"

Without intending to sound blasť, is one answer,

 "Then stop taking them and try something else!"

Acceptance of the situation is the first step on the road to self help.  From personal experience as a chronic pain sufferer, I can appreciate it is difficult to accept that there may never be a cure.  However, this may well be the case for many people.  Subsequently if chronic pain sufferers are in a state of denial, they are not actively learning to cope day by day but looking to the future when the pain is 'gone'.  A sobering thought is - this may never happen.  

Getting back to normal life

As anyone who suffers will tell you, chronic pain affects the ability to achieve things.  Subsequently many activities such as work, leisure, sleep and household tasks can easily become limited.

Pain management encourages people to gradually return to activities that they have been avoiding or finding difficult.  This is done partly by a process of goal planning -  by identifying the goals to which chronic pain sufferers wish to return, and by setting targets.

Levels of activity can be improved by using pacing techniques and learning tolerance levels

Pacing involves gradually increasing the tolerance for a particular task.

People suffering with the effects of chronic pain should learn to apply pacing techniques to everyday activities.  It is vital to learn about your own body and what it is telling you, i.e. not standing or walking for so long that the pain rises to an intense level.  Using a watch, time your tolerance levels at standing / walking / sitting etc.  Then apply this to your activities, and plan 'rest breaks' - breaking activities into manageable parts.  If possible, devise a weekly timetable if necessary so that jobs can be carefully planned ahead and so you do not get over-tired on any one day.  

By doing this you are staying in control of your life.  It is equally important not to let others push you into doing things you know are unwise.  Stay in control of your own physical limitations.  

Goal Planning

A simple problem solving process of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation can be effective for people learning to effectively manage pain.  By setting short term and long term goals, chronic pain sufferers can go a long way towards managing their pain. This includes rewarding themselves for achievements, large or small.  

Identifying and tackling unhelpful patterns of thinking can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. As people learn to look at difficult situations in a more balanced way, they tend to feel less distressed by their pain.

A goal-planning care-plan template which can easily be copied and printed on word is available here

Please click for details of other strategies for effectively managing pain such as learning to relax, managing sleep, and the practical benefits of exercise






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