How to cope with persistent pain

Persistent pain can affect your muscles, joints and bones and you may feel it anywhere in your body. We use the term ‘persistent’ to refer to pain that lasts longer than normally expected for an injury or condition.

If you have persistent pain that lasts longer than 3 months, it’s usually because of changes to your nervous system, which becomes more sensitised.

Persistent pain can have a significant impact on your physical health. Increased pain levels may stop you from exercising, socialising or being able to work. You may also find day to day tasks difficult to do.

How we can help you

As part of the MSK service, our team has a special interest in persistent pain. Depending on the severity of your pain and condition, we can;

  • refer you to physiotherapy for exercises and techniques to help manage your pain
  • help you learn more about your condition so you can self manage your pain
  • create a tailored plan for your needs to help manage your symptoms
  • help you reduce reliance on pain medication and/ or review your current medication
  • talk to your GP about your medication.

Our physiotherapists can also help you to pace yourself in everyday activity so that you don’t overdo things. As well as exercises, they can also carry out therapies including;

  • acupuncture
  • hydrotherapy
  • heat and ice
  • injections (specialist physiotherapists only).

They may also give you walking aids to help with your mobility.

We may refer you to occupational therapy. Our team will help you improve your ability to do day-to-day activities and fit you with splints or braces to support your limbs. They can also discuss your home environment and provide you with any equipment you need to manage daily tasks more easily.

Persistent pain and mental health

Coping with persistent pain from an MSK injury or condition can have a significant impact on your mental health. You may notice a change in your own mental health if you’re unable to work, carry out day-to-day activities or enjoy sport and exercise.

It’s common to experience anxiety or depression as a result of your injury or condition. You may feel increasingly worried about your pain and avoid things that may make it worse. If you can not work because of your pain, you may also have financial worries. This can affect your sleep, result in weight gain or loss and increase the intensity of your pain.

Find out more about generalised anxiety disorder including symptoms and treatment.

Find out more about depression including symptoms and treatment.

The Pain Management Team

We can refer you to our pain management service. A pain consultant will assess you and help you get the right treatment based on your individual needs. This may include counselling, medication or referral to the pain management programme.

The team also promotes positive changes in habits, lifestyle and health. They will help you to develop strategies for coping with your pain, and encourage you to stay active in a safe way.

Pain Management Service

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