If you suffer from Chronic Pain, your life can be very difficult and it is hard for other people to understand the daily impact it has on your life.
Chronic Pain is a common condition, with complex emotional, sensory, cognitive and behavioural effects. It is notoriously difficult to treat and manage with traditional medicine. However, people who live with Chronic Pain can improve their symptoms after participating in a Pain Management Programme (PMP) – these programmes are offered by the NHS and other charities that help people living with daily pain.
Ultimately, the aim of a PMP is to enable you to achieve as normal a life as possible by reducing the emotional distress you feel and reducing the physical disability you experience. This should improve your ability to self-manage your pain and achieve more on a day-to-day basis.
How does a Pain Management Programme (PMP) work?
A Pain Management Programme is carried out by a team of medical professionals. Generally speaking they usually involve a number of sessions with other people suffering from Chronic Pain, which can be useful as it allows you to meet other people who genuinely understand your condition and how you are feeling.
The aim of a PMP is to improve and increase your participation in day-to-day activities, including socialising, which will improve your quality of life and allow you to feel that you are able to carry on ‘as normal’.
There will be a focus on increasing your mobility, how to self-care, increasing and broadening leisure and social activities, returning to work and reducing your reliance on medication and other healthcare. PMPs are goal orientated – you will be assisted in coming up with individual goals which will help you to achieve more independence and control of your pain, and your perception of it.
What does a Pain Management Programme (PMP) consist of?
You will be taught a variety of methods which directly or indirectly produce behaviour change. These will include cognitive and behavioural therapy, learning and conditioning processes, skills training, physical exercise and education.
What sessions are offered will largely depend on where you are treated (i.e. NHS or other medical centre) but is likely to include:
- Psychology sessions - Clinical psychologists help you to look at the impact of Chronic Pain on your way of thinking, your general mood and behaviour. Some people with Chronic Pain face symptoms such as depression, anxiety, anger and loss of identity. These sessions will provide you with the opportunity to make sense of the difficulties you are facing and learn appropriate coping strategies.
- Physiotherapy sessions – Exercise can be hugely beneficial to people living with Chronic Pain. A physiotherapist will be able to help you to establish exercises that will increase your physical fitness and boost your feelings of wellbeing. The ability to increase activity levels is often of significant benefit to people suffering from Chronic Pain.
- Occupational therapy sessions – The ability to manage day-to-day activities shouldn’t be underestimated and therefore occupational therapists are an important part of PMP. They will help you to re-learn and improve your ability to manage your personal care, household chores, work, leisure and social activities.
- Specialist pain information sessions – these sessions aim to teach you more about your condition, including how Chronic Pain develops and will help you to understand and come to terms with your pain. You will find out about how medication works and the most effective ways to use medicine alongside other pain management techniques to get the best overall effects.
Ultimately, the aim of a Pain Management Programme is to help you to learn to live with your pain on a day-to-day basis and to create successful strategies for coping with your symptoms.
As we are all individuals, your programme is likely to be different to other people. What works for one person does not necessarily work as well for another; therefore medical professionals will work with you to determine what works best for your individual needs.