Who are we?
We are a multi-disciplinary team who specializes in chronic or persistent pain and help patients manage their long-term pain condition in the South West Hampshire region.
What does the pain management service do?
We offer support to people living with persistent long-term pain. Our ethos is helping you to ‘Live your best life’, even though this may be in the presence of pain. For the majority of our patients pain is an ongoing condition that they are gradually coming to terms with. We are very rarely able to cure pain, but we hope to reduce its impact on peoples’ lives. We hope to help make the pain more ‘livable with’.
We may see learning to cope with persistent pain as a journey, and our role is often to accompany people on their journey. Many people benefit from understanding their pain better, and exploring the physiological processes that cause persistent pain. We offer support to help live with the distress and the burden that pain can cause. Some patients may benefit from learning psychological strategies to help with managing their pain.
We will also look at the impact that pain has on activity, and help you to manage your activity to get the best out of life, without unnecessarily flaring up your pain.
Sometimes, we may suggest changes in pain medication, although many people living with persistent pain find that medication is not the answer. In a small number of cases, for specific conditions, a single spinal injection may be offered.
If you feel you could benefit from our service please discuss this with your GP and they will be able to refer you in to our service.
What happens after I get referred?
On receipt of a referral the information is reviewed by a clinician. You will then be sent a questionnaire which gives us more detail about your specific needs. Once we have received your questionnaire you will be sent an appointment with the most appropriate clinician. Your first appointment will cover a wide range of things relating to your pain. This may include previous treatments and investigations, medication, the impact the pain has on work, social life, relationships, general health and mood. It is helpful if you have as much information as possible regarding current and previously tried medication for your pain. At the end of the appointment a management plan will be agreed.
What happens at the Initial Appointment?
This is an initial meeting to discuss whether pain psychology would be helpful and whether further sessions may help. By the end of the meeting there is typically a plan to work with and this may include further individual sessions with the Psychologist. It may also include attending an education session and the pain management group within the service. You may also be offered a combined appointment with another member of the team if this is considered to be helpful e.g., Nurse, Physiotherapist. If your needs are more complex, the clinical psychologist will discuss this with you and other professionals to consider what the best plan would be to meet these needs. This might involve a referral to other mental health, specialist and community services that would be more appropriate and better suited to meet these needs. Sometimes pain psychology may not be required.
The individual sessions are time limited and typical start off with a few sessions. Sometimes further sessions are agreed or the treatment is completed. Typically, the average length of these sessions are about 6 sessions. Treatment plans are individualized for every person depending upon your pain needs. The plan may involve teaching mindfulness and relaxation techniques, working with acceptance, helping you to manage anxiety and depression associated with pain, unhelpful beliefs about pain, building new coping skills and addressing any anxiety or depression that may accompany your pain.