Living with chronic pain

Around 1 in 7 people live with chronic or persistent pain, this is pain persisting for more than 3 months and is often on the basis of conditions such as arthritis and musculoskeletal back pain.

Acute pain in general serves a purpose of protecting your body from further harm, persistent pain however serves little useful purpose and significantly degrades quality of life; it affects mood, sleep, mobility, can contribute to loss of energy, feeling tired and having reduced concentration.

Managing persistent pain can be complicated, your GP can help with medicines and painkillers however these come with their own “baggage”; in particular stronger painkillers such as cocodamol, tramadol and opiate patches themselves can contribute to patients feeling tired, can cause constipation along with dependence. They do have a place in managing pain but are only part of the answer.

There is very little evidence that opiate pain relief improves the quality of life for patients living with persistent non cancer pain, in addition if a patient is taking the equivalent of 120mg morphine per day, there is evidence that life expectancy reduces by around 10 years. If you are taking 8 x 30/500mg co-codamol per day this is equivalent to 24mg morphine.

We have attempted to make available some links to information about living with pain which we hope you may find useful;

Understanding Pain in less than 5 minutes is a youtube video exploring how we sense pain and some pointers to overcoming the disabling effects of persistent pain.

Pain Toolkit has been developedby a persistent pain sufferer to help people understand their pain and develop stratagies to help them live fuller more active lives.

Live well with pain links to leaflets and resources to help people understand about their pain including painkillers

Spine Health gives a comprehensive guide to conditions that can affect your spine, neck or lower back. There are some very useful videos on beneficial exercises for patients suffering neck or back pain plus an overview of different treatment options.

Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

If you want more information about your condition, whether it is fibromyalgia or arthritis, tou can search for your condition on the Versus Arthritis website.

Fibromyalgia Patient information: