How Could New Chronic Pain Treatment Schemes Help Sufferers

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Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that is typified by persistent pain and an inability to perform daily tasks. The condition is so severe that new studies on rehabilitation and recovery are common and has caused various health organisations employ a different approach to treatment.

Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that can make it hard to perform daily tasks.

The Hywel Dda University Health Board is one of the latest groups to introduce a new treatment scheme, with a new chronic pain treatment model that looks to drastically change the way sufferers receive care. Responding to the new treatments available, Joanna Tloczek – Paralegal on the Industrial Disease team at Simpson Millar – explains the new scheme and outlines how it could affect patients.

What Is The New Treatment Scheme?

The new treatment scheme comes after a 12 month consultation with patients, clinicians, and therapists and the basis of the new Chronic Pain Service looks to boost the emphasis on self-management of chronic pain symptoms.

A range of new treatment options will be offered to patients suffering from chronic pain, including:

  • 12-week Pain Management Programmes
  • Supported self-help sessions
  • Psychological support
  • Physiotherapy
  • Consultation and advice regarding medicine

Patients that wish to receive the new pain treatment must ask their GP for a referral. Once referred, patients will be triaged by a multi-disciplinary team, who will decide whether chronic pain treatment would benefit them more than traditional medical pain treatment.

How Does This Differ From Traditional Treatment?

Traditionally, treatment is based on pain relief, anti-inflammatory medicines, and physiotherapy; on the other hand, the new approach is designed to be holistic and looks to address a patient's somatic and psychological reactions to pain.

Under the new scheme, a psychological team will focus on psycho-social approaches and will assess a patient's relationship with the people around them. Once the patient is assessed, a tailored psychological treatment is prescribed, which could entail:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Learning communication skills, which will allow patients to express the emotions caused by pain
  • Physical activities
  • Developing an understanding that pacing and taking breaks is vital in managing pain

All of these forms of therapy are parts of the Pain Management Program (PMP) and focus on breaking the negative circle of pain, emotions and thoughts associated with chronic pain.

The comprehensive treatment means that doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists work together and share a patient's medical data. This co-operation should help medical professionals understand how a combination of therapies affects the symptoms of chronic pain.

What Effect Could The New Scheme Have On Patients?

Living with chronic pain is very challenging and may cause a number of problems for patients in everyday life, with many reporting:

  • Sudden mood changes
  • Problems in relationships and at work
  • An adverse effect on employment prospects and, in turn, financial difficulties

The new scheme is designed to change the way we look at treating chronic pain, as it introduces a practical and educational programme that is designed to improve a patient's quality of life and help them live with their persistent pain.

Rather than just supplying medical treatment that temporarily numbs the pain, the new scheme looks to develop an understanding of chronic pain to help patients self-manage their wellbeing.

Other health boards that tested similar programmes in the past have published comments from their patients. The patients mainly reported that it was their attitude to pain that has changed. Some patients confirming that they could communicate better with their families, while others could cope better with their pain.

This modern approach to treating pain seems very promising and hopefully more people living with chronic pain will have the opportunity to benefit from it.


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