Chronic pain is a complex problem that often requires a multifaceted approach. People with chronic pain have often had it for some time before they attend a pain centre. As such there are rarely quick fixes and we tend to work with people over varying time frames between a month or two to several years. On average we work with people for six to twelve months.
This period of working with us is a period of considerable change. Trialing different interventions, developing new skills, building knowledge about chronic pain and working with different team members takes time and requires support. As the person’s general practitioner there are many key things you can do to help support them while they work with us.
- Encourage the person to have a sense of hope that things can and will improve
- Help the person to understand their pain from an evidence based point of view
- Help the person to adopt a biopsychosocial approach and adopt one for yourself. This means recognising that chronic pain is best helped by working on medical, physical, and psychological issues at the same time in a team based approach
- Encourage the person to educate themselves about the modern understanding of pain and chronic pain
- Encourage the person to keep going even if they are struggling to see that things are helping. If they keep at it we are confident things will improve
- Recognise that pain medications are most helpful when they lead to improvements in functioning and quality of life
- Work with us and the person to reduce medications that are not bringing about these improvements
- Support the person to develop a range of effective chronic pain coping strategies
- Encourage the person to focus on improving their quality of life and re-engaging back into previously important and meaningful activities