This document provides you with information on the Chronic Pain Service at CUH and how to best support you in managing your pain while you are waiting for your appointment at the Pain Management Clinic.
For further information on the Chronic Pain Service at CUH and access to pain resources please refer to the CUH Pain Clinic website.
Why have I been referred to the CUH Chronic Pain Service?
You have been referred to the Chronic Pain Service at CUH because you may be suffering from Chronic Pain. Chronic Pain is a condition where pain becomes persistent and continues after the normal healing process has completed (e.g. nerve pain that persists after surgery or a stroke), or where there is an underlying painful condition that is ongoing (e.g. joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic back pain caused by osteoarthritis of the facet joints of the spine).
If you have Chronic Pain, you are not alone; 6-8% of the population has severe persistent pain that prevents some or most activities. Chronic Pain conditions have been shown to have a bigger impact on quality of life than almost any other chronic disease, including cardiac disease, respiratory disease or cancer.
Although pain is the main symptom experienced, people who suffer from Chronic Pain frequently report that the pain impacts upon all aspects of their lives, including their ability to engage in activities such as exercise or work, their relationships with family or friends, and social activities. Chronic Pain can also impact upon other aspects of quality of life such as sleep and mood. Management of the condition can be most-effective if there is an understanding that all of these factors (and more) contribute to the suffering experienced by patients with Chronic Pain.
What should I expect from the Chronic Pain Service at CUH?
We provide comprehensive specialist as well as some highly-specialised services that aim to help patients suffering with Chronic Pain. Patients will be guided by a dedicated team of doctors, specialist nurses and allied health professionals (including physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists who have specialised in the management of Chronic Pain conditions).
Our team will thoroughly assess your Chronic Pain condition and try to give you a better understanding of its causes as well as how best to manage it. This holistic assessment of your pain condition may include education on the causes and physiology of your pain; better understanding of the complex ways in which pain can impact upon aspects of your life; helpful pain self-management techniques; advice and help with activities and exercise; review and optimisation of pain medications; and, where appropriate, pain-relieving interventional treatments, such as injections, nerve blocks and highly-specialised neurodestructive treatments (such as radiofrequency or chemical procedures to destroy pain nerves) or neuromodulatory treatments (such as spinal cord stimulation).
Please note that not all pain conditions will respond to these treatments. Some patients with complex pain needs may benefit from the additional support of pain rehabilitation programmes such as our psychology-led or physiotherapy-led Pain Management Programmes (PMP) as well as advanced pain management interventions. These therapies can be offered as individual or group-based sessions, both face-to-face or online, depending upon what is most suitable for you.
We treat all Chronic Pain conditions including (but not limited to): musculoskeletal pain conditions (low back, sciatica, neck, spinal pain, joint and muscle pain); complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS); fibromyalgia and widespread chronic pain; cancer-related pain; nerve pain; chronic pain after surgical intervention; male and female pelvic pain conditions (endometriosis, vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, testicular and prostate related pain); etc.
Guidance for patients
We appreciate that you may have waited for a long time before being offered a referral to the Chronic Pain Service, and that you may still have a wait before you can attend for your assessment.
The following websites offer information about Chronic Pain and its treatments, as well as some general advice about living with your pain condition that you might find helpful.
What should I do if my health is deteriorating?
If you are waiting for your first outpatient appointment with the CUH Chronic Pain Service, please speak to your GP who can assess your health needs and offer advice on the most appropriate treatment pathway. They can also contact us and alert us to any changes in your situation.
If you are an existing patient, please contact your consultant’s secretary or your specialist nurse.