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Pain management programmes

The Pain Management programme at Leicester General Hospital

We hope this web page is helpful. If you would like further information or guidance, please contact one of the pain management team on 0116 258 4803.

Pain Management Programmes team
Leicester General Hospital

Pain management programmes have been running at Leicester General Hospital since 1997. We organise structured programmes with guidance and teaching from an experienced team of staff including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, a nurse specialist and a medical consultant in pain management.

The courses are for people who live with chronic persistent pain. We accept referrals from Orthopaedic and Pain consultants.

What is chronic pain?

By the time you are referred to a pain management programme you will probably have seen many doctors and tried many different types of treatment in an attempt to reduce your pain. Despite all the advances in medicine, doctors are not always able to reduce pain completely.

Chronic pain is long-term pain that has persisted for more than three months (1). About 11% of the British population experience chronic pain (2) and it has many different causes. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain does not always indicate progressive tissue damage. Doctors now understand that in some people the nervous system can become over-sensitive as a response to an initial injury.

(1)      www.britishpainsociety.org

(2)      www.painconcern.org.uk

Living with Chronic pain

Chronic pain has a major physical impact on people’s lives, but it also has many negative emotional, social and psychological effects. It affects people in personal and domestic tasks, in work and in leisure, and can affect relationships. People in chronic pain often feel depressed, frustrated, worried, sad or helpless because of the pain that they are experiencing. Family and friends may experience many of these feelings too.

What is pain Management?

Pain management is a self-management approach in dealing with chronic pain. It involves a number of strategies and techniques that can help you manage your own pain effectively and to feel more in control of it. The pain management approach should not be seen as a ‘treatment’ or ‘cure’ for your pain. Instead it is a way for you to make your pain more manageable so that it interferes less with your life and improves the quality of your life.

Our pain management programmes aim to:

  • Provide you with information and education about pain
  • Teach you a variety of techniques, strategies and skills to manage your pain
  • Help you to feel more in control of your pain so that your pain does not control you

A typical day includes a variety of sessions, from the physiotherapist, psychologist and occupational therapist. There are regular breaks during the day.

What is it like to attend a programme?

  • The programmes are held at Leicester General Hospital for one full day (10am-3.30pm) each week for 8 weeks with a follow-up day after 6 weeks
  • You will be in a group of up to 8 people throughout the programme. Any issues you choose to discuss will remain in confidence within the group and the pain management team
  • This is a self-management approach so it is essential that you are committed to attend each day of the programme. You need to be prepared to practise the tasks and the exercises in between programme days so that you get the full benefit of the programme.

The process

After you have been referred to the pain management programme team you will usually be invited to attend an introductory day. These days are held regularly with groups of people. They aim to give you more information about our pain management approach so that you can then decide if you are interested in attending a programme.

If you are interested or considering your options you will be asked to book an assessment with a member of the team. This is where you will have the chance to explain your individual pain history and the types of activities you are able to do on a daily basis. Here we will discuss what you would like to gain from attending a pain management programme and assess your physical abilities. At this stage we will consider with you whether a programme is right for you at this time.

 If the team decide it would benefit you to attend a pain management programme you will be placed on a waiting list.

Role of the physiotherapist

People in chronic pain often tend to reduce the amount of physical activity they do as they fear they will do more damage to themselves. However this decrease in activity can actually worsen the situation. The role of the physiotherapist is to guide you through exercises and stretches to help you improve your strength, stamina, flexibility and mobility. The amount of exercise you do will be built up gradually so that you can incorporate it into your everyday life.

Role of the psychologist

The fact that a psychologist is involved does not mean that your pain is unreal or imagined. The psychological input aims to help you understand how pain affects your thoughts, feelings and relationships. We also help you to manage stress by teaching you a variety of relaxation skills. Examples of sessions are managing thoughts and feelings, communication, sleep and maintaining change.

Role of the occupational therapist

The main aim of the occupational therapist is to promote quality of life and satisfaction with activities. We look with you at your daily activities which may include household tasks, hobbies and work. We will support you in balancing your abilities with the demands placed upon you. Examples of sessions include balancing lifestyles, problem solving and goal setting.