Here you'll find the answers to questions that the team are frequently presented with.
What can I expect from my first visit?
In most cases, after you have been referred to the Pain Self-Management Service, you will be invited to an Introductory session.
The Introductory sessions last for around two hours, and give you a chance to learn more about the service. There will be talks by a Psychologist, as well as a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapity, and a Nurse about what the Pain Self-Management Service offers, and there is also a talk by a patient who has completed a Pain Self-Management Programme, who will discuss the Programme, and answer any questions you may have.
At the end of the Introductory session, you will be asked if you would like to make a 1-to-1 appointment to discuss your specific pain problem in more detail.
What happens at an initial appointment?
There is time at this appointment to discuss your own pain condition, and think through which of our pain management options might be of help to you. You are very welcome to bring a friend or family member.
Why is there a Psychologist on the Pain Self-Management Programme?
Sometimes people are concerned because there is a psychologist on the programme, and wonder if we might think that your pain is "all in the mind", but this is not the reason, and we know the pain is real. However, as well as affecting you physically, pain can have an effect on your thoughts and feelings, and your thoughts and feelings can in turn have an effect on your pain. Your pain may also affect those around you, and how you communicate with eachother. You may have worked out your own ways of coping with many of your difficulties but the psychologist can help you to think of different ways of looking at things.
What do the different team-members do on the course?
Information about pain medication, and advice on using it effectively.
Help with managing flare-ups of pain.
Provide information on managing everyday activities and improving day-to-day life.
Support and advise on work issues, including returning to work / voluntary work.
Advise on exercise, and help gradually increase levels of fitness and mobility.
Answer questions about your pain condition, and the complexities of chronic pain.
Advise on how to improve mood, manage stress, and communicate about your condition to others in the best possible way.
Help to break away from unhelpful habits
What would I be expected to do whilst on a Pain Self-Management Programme?
As mentioned, the Pain Self-Management Programme offers the chance to learn lots of new skills to help manage your pain. Because of this, we offer all programme attendees a folder of fact-sheets about each session, so you can always look information up if you forget it.
During the weekly sessions, staff are on-hand to help you practise new skills, and give tips on how to get the most out of the Programme, they can also help you if you have problems reading or writing. As there are only 8 sessions on a Pain Self-Management Programme, it is important that you attend all sessions to get the most out of the Programme.
All of the skills are taught in the weekly sessions, but what you do outside of sessions is equally as important as attending. You will be asked to practise the skills taught each week, and given the opportunity to feed back any problems you encountered, or any tips to other attendees.
We advise all attendees on the Pain Self-Management Programme to wear comfortable clothing to the sessions (such as loose-fitting trousers rather than skirts) as it makes it a lot easier to participate in relaxation and exercise components.
So that we can help you to get the most out of the Pain Self-Management Programme, you will be asked to come to every session, because if you miss one, it will be difficult for you to catch up.
Does it work?
The Pain Self-Management Programme does not offer any "miracle cures". It also does not promise to make your life exactly the way it was before you had the pain. What people gain from the Programme will be different for everybody.
Making changes will take time, and many people are not sure about whether the Programme will help them until they are at least half-way through the course.
You will need to be patient and open-mindness; looking at your own progress and rewarding yourself for your efforts.
Overall, by attending the Pain Self-Management Programme and practising the skills that you learn there, you can start to make life better for yourself, and start to feel more in control of your pain problem.
Will the Pain Self-Management Programme cure my pain?
The Programme is not a cure for your pain but is designed to help you to manage it and feel more in control. This can make a real difference to your quality of life.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
Page updated 18/11/15