Management options for pain
Find information about management options for pain, including our pain management clinic, information about pain medication, and access to a range of tools to help with exercise, pacing, and relaxation.
Our appointments can help you develop new skills which will continue to help after you have been discharged from our service. For some pain conditions, medical management is an option to relieve symptoms rather than a cure for the condition.
Pain management tools
Find out more information about our pain management tools, which include:
All of our treatment options work best when combined with other pain management tools.
Our pain management services
We offer a range of appointment types, individually and in groups, including:
- individual assessments and appointments, with relevant members of our team
- pain management programme
- mindfulness, individual and group sessions
- medical appointments with pain specialists
The majority of medical treatment appointments are carried out at Chedworth Suite, in the Centre Block at Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH). All other appointments take place in our outpatient departments across our hospitals. Your appointment letter will include directions and instructions.
You should bring your medication or an up to date list of anything you take with you. You should also let us know if there’s any chance you may be pregnant or breastfeeding, as it may not be safe for us to carry out your treatment.
Our pain management programme
We run a group video conferencing course for adults with persistent pain. It runs once a week for a period of 8 weeks, and covers:
- understanding pain and why it becomes persistent
- new ways to manage everyday activities without making your pain worse
- improving balance, fitness, strength and flexibility
- better use of medication
- communicating more clearly about pain
- skills for coping with sadness, anxiety or anger
- planning for pain flare ups
- managing work
- reducing the effects of stress
Movement and exercise
Pain can cause you to avoid normal everyday movement and activity. If something hurts to move, we often keep it still.
With acute pain, rest is needed to allow healing to occur. But with persistent pain, this is not the case. The pain does not mean your body needs to heal, but pain can still make you avoid movement or push yourself to keep going. This can increase your pain volume.
Paced exercise and movement can help the body maintain and improve:
- aches and pains
- management of stress
- co-ordination and balance
Many factors can stop us exercising on a regular basis but skills you learn in the pain management programme can help you gradually regain your confidence with exercise and activity.
The following videos can help get you started. They focus on exercises for the arms, shoulders, back, neck and legs.
The regular practice of relaxation techniques can be a helpful skill to develop when managing stress, pain or difficult emotions. These are different to relaxing activities such as taking a walk or reading a book.
We recommend that you listen to or download the following tracks, to practice the relaxation techniques at home.
Please do not listen to any of these tracks while driving, or doing similar activities that require concentration. When listening to de-stress the body, please stretch each area of your body gently, not excessively such that it causes you pain or discomfort.
Persistent pain can be difficult to deal with, for ourselves and for our families and friends. Common issues include:
- feeling guilty because you don’t know how to best help each other
- feeling angry or frustrated at lost opportunities to spend time together
- feeling sad because roles have changed at home and at work
- difficulties showing affection and continuing intimate relationships.
This video shows some different communication styles.
Pain medication works best when it is taken in the minimum effective dose and allows you to participate in activities that would not be possible without it.
Medication assessments are usually carried out by one of our specialist doctors or nurses, to ensure the benefits of pain medication outweigh the possible side effects.
Find out more about pain medications on the Pain Concern website.
Qutenza is a patch medication which contains a strong chilli pepper extract, used on areas of skin sensitivity to reduce the transmission of pain signals. This helps to reduce the intensity of your pain.
The patch is applied for 30 to 60 minutes, during which you may experience a hot sensation, like sunburn. You may also experience this for a few hours afterwards.
Injections to relieve symptoms of chronic pain often include steroids, known as cortisone, and we sometimes use botox or electrical treatment for certain conditions.
Your injection will include plenty of local anaesthetic, so you will not need to be sedated. You may experience temporary numbness or weakness after an injection, so we advise you not to drive for 24 hours after treatment.