Pain Management

What happens at the pain clinic?

Prior to your appointment you will receive two questionnaires, one asking about your pain and the other about your emotions. We encourage you to complete questionnaire about your emotions as quickly as possible in order to produce more reliable answers. This is a routine screening questionnaire as we are aware of the impact emotions can play in most illnesses.

A consultant, GP trainee or nurse specialist will then see you either via video, telephone or, if needed, face to face.

Usually we will start by asking you about your pain. We are likely to ask the following questions. It may be useful to have a think about how you may respond to these before your visit.

  • Where is it?
  • How long has it been there?
  • How would you describe it?
  • What have you already tried for it? – medications and non-medication treatments
  • What makes it worse and what helps?
  • What do you take for it, if anything? It is useful to bring your prescription along, or have it handy for a phone consultation, as some medications we may suggest could interact with something you are already taking.
  • What other medical issues do you have?

After this, if appropriate, we may need to examine the painful area. If possible, it is helpful to wear clothing that makes access to examination of the affected area easier.

After we have discussed the pain and examined you, we will discuss what options we think are appropriate for managing your pain.

Examples we may suggest include:

  • pain medications
  • non-medication treatments such as TENS , acupuncture, hydrotherapy
  • referral to the pain management team
  • a procedure such as an injection – these may be used to treat severe pain and provide a window of opportunity to help with physical reactivation. Most pain procedures are short lived in their effects.
  • investigations such as blood tests, X-rays, scans ensure that any health problems that could be contributing to your pain problem have been identified.

We will advise on what we think is appropriate, but this will be a shared decision making process. The focus of the advice will be centred on your condition and your individual circumstances.

If changes to your medication are suggested, we generally ask your GP to prescribe these. Your GP will then have a record of the prescription and they also have access to your up to date medical records, meaning they will be more aware of what may be contraindicated and previously trialled.

Useful resources for patients living with chronic pain: