Chronic Pain Clinic London
Chronic pain is a complex and varied condition which is different for every person. It can arise after any number of different medical conditions or trauma from an accident. The pain often means that people who live with it have trouble carrying out their usual day to day activities, from dressing and washing to work or exercise.
After some time, a person’s mood and mental health can become affected. This can add considerable distress to a person’s life and is one of the main challenges facing patients and their clinical team.
Our expert pain team is comprised of a large number of experts from medical consultants to psychologists, physiotherapists and pain management consultants.
In this way we can tackle the complex issue of pain management using the right expertise and professional when required.
Why won’t my pain go away?
Pain has developed via evolution to be a warning system to our body. If for example we touch something hot or sharp, pain allows us to notice this danger and move away.
Pain is unfortunately not restricted to this warning system. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) recognise that pain is both a sensory and emotional experience that describes bodily damage but also potential bodily damage.
Pain can persist for long after it is useful to us, and this is what our pain clinic looks to investigate and treat. ‘Out of proportion’ pain can persist even when the original insult to the body is removed or treated. This can make the task of locating the root cause of a very real pain somewhat difficult.
We understand that pain is of both the body and the mind. Due to this fact, we work hard with long term goals in mind with regards to your pain management, knowing that working together we can give you the best chance of recovery.
Common Causes of Chronic Pain
This list is by no means complete, but aims to serve as an example of the wide range of issues our expert team have experience in managing.
- Back pain
- Inoperable spinal / disc issues
- Post-operative pain
- Sports injuries
- Post trauma / accidental injuries such as road traffic accidents
- Nerve damage
Your first chronic pain appointment
One of our expert consultant team will carry out a full medical assessment, reviewing the origin and evolution of your pain and any underlying conditions. An in depth review of your prior medical investigations and treatments will be discussed to explore your ideas and expectations surrounding the future management of your pain.
We know the significant impact that chronic pain can have on your life. Seeking to understand your perspective fully, assessment is also made of the disruption and inconvenience to your daily life, work, mood, sleep and general well being.
Depending on the origin of your pain, a physical examination may also be appropriate as well as investigations such as scans. Our state of the art centre is able to provide same day scanning and imaging services, expediting your treatment and progress.
What treatments are available?
The following list of treatments will not apply to all patients. With such a complex disease process, any treatment and therapy plans will be discussed with you at appointment and designed by your pain consultant. Aside from medical interventions, we ensure other therapies are employed to provide you with the most effective relief and remedy.
Specialising in restoring movement to those with illness, injury or pain, our physiotherapy team aims to improve a patient’s day to day function.
Our team assess and analyse your ability to perform day to day tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs or making a cup of tea. Plans can then be put into place to help manage how your pain affects these activities.
The impact of pain on mood and mental health should not be understated. Our psychologists liaise closely with you and your consultant to provide vital support and insight into how pain may be affecting your life.
Psychological support helps make our patients more independent in their personal pain management after we have worked together in creating a treatment plan. This in turn can lead to improved mood and confidence in facing each day.
Psychological treatments can be as varied and complex as medical treatments. We seek to recommend only those which have proven evidence in reducing the physical and psychological burden of chronic pain. These include but are not limited to methodologies such as:
Otherwise known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT is a talking therapy which examines how you think and react to yourself and your surroundings. It can change how we cope with old and new situations and find solutions to the problems we face.
Sometimes known as MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction), this combines secular meditation practice with teaching on the connection between body and mind. It has been shown to positively affect how people perceive their experience of the world.
Pain relief of course plays a role in the management of chronic pain. Our team however seek to utilise our holistic treatment team’s expertise to reduce the dependence on strong painkillers.
Over the counter medicine like paracetamol is used, along with less familiar pain relief medications that are used in other areas of medicine like epilepsy and depression treatment.
Interventional medication is simply medication such as anaesthetic (pain relief) that is introduced to the body via injection. This could be an epidural (the injection in the back that some mothers giving birth receive) or it could be a nerve block (an injection of painkiller through the skin into the base of a nerve).
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
You may have heard of TENS machines before or used one already. It is an electrical device controlled by yourself that delivers impulses to sticky pads that sit on your skin. With some guidance, they can be used to provide chronic pain relief across a certain section of your body.
Although it uses electricity, patients liken it to a soothing pulsation or tingling sensation rather than anything like an electric shock.
Keep a pain diary
Extremely useful for both patient and clinician, a pain diary helps give a more objective outlook to your day to day feelings and emotions. It can also provide some distance for yourself, allowing you to see the effects pain may be having on your life that you otherwise may have missed.
Recording any pain relief and subsequent changes in pain will again give a clearer picture of what is working best for you. It can be hard to remember all of the nuances of your pain and mood when speaking to one of our consultants. A pain diary ensures that we have the most information at hand possible to help you.