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Chronic pain is very hard to live with, and if you are watching this video, there’s a very good chance that either you’re in pain or someone close to you is in pain or you’re working with someone professionally who has experienced this horrible condition to live with.
Pain affects all of us at some point of our lifetimes, as we know, but chronic pain affects about forty-three percent of everyone living in the UK at any given time. And as you might know, it’s so hard to get up in the morning with pain and then go to sleep, still in pain. There are times when medication doesn’t help, injections may not work, and I think we feel a sense of frustration and certainly share yours when we think ‘what will make a difference? What’s actually going to help you manage your pain differently?’ And people working in our pain service have the utmost sense of awe and admiration for anyone who lives with pain, because we know how difficult it is.
To help you with your pain, we’ve actually set up our four pillars model, and that’s to help you get a greater sense of control about how to live with and manage your pain. So we help people understand their body, their brain, their spinal cord. We help them think of how to become more fit in themselves, how to work with their diet and their sleep. Also how to make better life choices in terms of taking up hobbies that might have fallen by the wayside, the skills you might have, and finally help to deal with the anxiety and depression that just goes hand in hand with living with pain. So if you think we can help you in some way, please get in touch; we would be delighted to help you.
It’s given me so many tools that I didn’t know I could do, and abilities. I’m going to now start and think about what I can do now. A lot of my fears have gone, because fear makes you stress, makes you worry, which adds more problem, more pain, and you don’t feel alone.
What the pain service does is it looks at all the difficulties that pain is causing that particular person, and tailors pain management to suit that person’s need. With pain management we ask that people actively participate in their own wellbeing. And this is by learning different strategies to cope with the pain. And mostly it’s improving confidence, improving fitness, improving mobility, improving sleep, improving mood, and these are things that people need to learn the strategies and the skills to do.
There can be a number of losses associated with living with pain. My role is to help people reduce that distress and help people find ways to live with pain and improve their quality of life whilst doing so.
We are not there as healers, but we are there to help coach people through living well with pain.
But you have to put the work in. You have to take the time. You have to put that ten, fifteen minutes a day, but then at the end of it, the difference is extraordinary.
I can well imagine that if I was in pain and someone told me the way to get out of your pain is to start walking around the block and touching your toes, I might be really quite concerned about ‘could I manage it? Is it going to make my pain worse?’ And actually, this is exactly what we’re asking people to do.
I was taking a whole lot of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid to control my pain. When I was referred to the pain service, I came into contact with Yvonne, who’s been looking after me all the way through. Yvonne spoke in depth about the amount of fentanyl I was on, how dangerous it was, what could happen to me. It was really a wake up call. I’m now down to less than half that I was on, previously. My pain is no worse; I use different things when I am in a painful situation; I can meditate. Yvonne encouraged me to use a hot water bottle or something like that on your tummy.
Some people think it’ll just take the pain away. It doesn’t take the pain away; it teaches you to deal with the pain in a different way, so you’re in charge of the pain rather than the pain being in charge of you.
PainPals Helpline – 01202 858361
Mon-Fri 11:00 - 17:00
Wed 14:00 - 17:00 only
Would you like to speak with someone who truly understands what it’s like to live with chronic pain? Please call our helpline, which is manned by volunteers who live with pain themselves.
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