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Pain Self-Management Service

How to refer someone to Pain Self-Management

Please follow the link for Information for Referrers to the Pain Self-Management Service

What happens after referral to Pain Self-Management?

People referred to the Pain Self-Management Service are usually offered an Introductory session.  This session will introduce you to the Team, the approach we use, and give you further information about the services we offer.  From here, you will be offered a one-to-one appointment, where the team learn more about your specific pain problem, and how they can best help you cope with your chronic pain condition.  Together we  try to work out the best way we can help you manage your pain.  More information on the Introduction session and the initial appointment can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

The Pain Self-Management Programme

Most people are invited to a Pain Self-Management Programme.  The Programme consists of 8 weekly sessions, each lasting between 2 1/2 and 3 hours.  After the Programme, there is a follow-up session held roughly 10 weeks after the final session, to see how everyone is putting the skills learnt into practice on a day to day basis.

At the Pain Self-Management Programme, people are given lots of information about chronic pain.   They are taught about self-management, gentle exercises and relaxation.  Whilst there is lots of information to take in, the groups are a friendly and informal setting, with some group discussions and a break for tea or coffee.

Who runs the Programme?

The groups are run by a team of four professionals - A Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Nurse and Occupational Therapist, each delivering information, support and advice on different aspects of chronic pain, and how it can be best managed.  More information on the roles of each team-member can be found in the FAQs section.

What does the programme cover?

The Pain Self-Management Programme involves giving you skills and techniques to help you manage your pain.  The Programme aims to help you:

  • Understand the pain and what is wrong
  • Learn new ways of managing everyday activities, without making the pain worse
  • Get fitter and stronger, and increase flexibility
  • Change old habits which are no longer useful
  • Make better use of medication
  • Communicate your needs clearly to those around you
  • Learn skills for coping with the sadness, worry or anger associated with chronic pain and reduce the effects of stress
  • Prepare a plan for when things go wrong
  • Manage work issues associated with pain

People who attend the Pain Management Programme often tell us that they find it very helpful to have the support and encouragement of other people who have similar problems and understand how it feels to live with chronic pain.  You are, of course free to choose how much you talk about your own situation with other people in the group.

Some of the attendees from previous Programme have put together some encouragement for those considering joining a Pain Self-Management Programme, which can be found on the Testimonials page.   One attendee wrote this letter summing up her experiences of the Pain Self-Management Programme. Have a look at this video of interviews with people who have attended a similar programme in London.


Mindfulness can help you cope with pain and/or difficulties in life.  It doesn't seek to remove uncomfortable situations from our lives, but to help us relate to them in a more helpful way.  Mindfulness training is not a miracle cure.  In fact, it requires a strong and determined commitment to a gentle but rigorous daily discipline of meditation.  For more information on Mindfulness, visit the Mindfulness page.

Individual sessions

Sometimes, the best option may be a one-to-one session with a specific member of the team.  This is usually when a person could benefit from particular advice, for example, meeting with the nurse to discuss how to manage medication more effectively. 

Some people may be offered a Pain Self-Management workbook, called the Pain Plan.  This is a book and CD which guides people through learning to manage their pain; you can work through this with support from a member of staff.



The British Pain Society has published a booklet for patients, Participant Information for Pain Management Programmes, which you can access by clicking this link or the image below.








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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
email: pain.webmaster[at]

Page updated 18/11/15