Pain: Do You Get It?

The Pain: Do You Get It? event in Grantham was an awareness-raising public engagement movement encouraging the local community to change how they think, talk and treat chronic pain

Connect Health brings Grantham community together to help local people rethink, re-engage and recover from pain

An estimated 30-50% of people in Lincolnshire live with longstanding pain and it is a growing problem, particularly with an aging population and in areas of deprivation. In a bid to help people understand why their body hurts and why it sometimes keeps hurting, an engagement event was held in Grantham this month.

Hosted by Connect Health, the largest, independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) and pain services, over 60 attendees joined leading experts at the event held at Grantham’s Guildhall Arts Centre.

Experts included Dr Chris Barker, a specialist GP with over 20 years’ experience in the field of persistent pain and an advisory committee member for the NHS and British Pain Society, who introduced the latest science and expert opinion on the subject. He was joined by Pete Moore, pain sufferer and author of the Pain Toolkit – a self-help resource supported by the Department of Health and used extensively in the UK and overseas.

Tim Atkinson, from Lincolnshire, also shared his healthcare challenges at the event having suffered from pain related to psoriatic arthritis for many years. He described being on a healthcare plan dominated by the prescription of increasingly high doses of pain medications, which he realised were not relieving his symptoms and were causing undesirable side-effects.

 “Since deciding to research and improve my understanding of pain, I’ve felt confident to take a more active role in managing my own condition and I now use far fewer medications, far less often,” Tim said.

Richard Pell, Connect Health’s Head of NHS Service Development commented:

“The feedback from the event suggested that people were very keen to understand more about pain science – some of which is very different from what medical professionals believed to be true several years ago. Many attendees welcomed the acknowledgment of the significant psychological and social impact of living with pain. Others remarked that they had received mixed messages from healthcare professionals in relation to pain and appropriate management strategies.”

An interactive discussion and audience Q&A combined a panel of people with experience of persistent pain with clinical experts. They discussed the importance of individuals owning their condition and being empowered to take control of living with pain through self-help strategies, seeking out support groups and accessing online self-care resources.

One attendee added: “Today’s session made me think about pain in a different way. I have contact with many people living with pain and I feel like I will now have more of an insight into this and will enjoy learning more.”

We received some fantastic feedback from the day

  • Great! Dr Chris was great at explaining – just the right level of info
  • Very interesting – gave me some hope and confirmation of things to do and think about
  • Great explanation of pain in a user-friendly language
  • It’s a tough message to get across – keep it up!
  • Valuable and interesting listening to people with lived experience and taking a self-care approach

When asked about delegate key take-home messages, responses included:

  • Have a plan. Research my condition, take control
  • Different coping strategies
  • Pain maths – I wasn’t aware of this equation before this session
  • Pain is a sensory and cognitive experience
  • Pain doesn’t mean harm

Further Pain: Do You Get It events will commence in February 2020, for further information, contact: understandpain@connecthealth.co.uk.

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Further reading

https://www.connecthealth.co.uk/events/pain-do-you-get-it/

https://www.painrevolution.org/

About Connect Health

Connect Health is the largest, independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) services (including orthopaedics, pain, rheumatology and Occupational Health) in the UK, serving over 300k NHS patients pa across 26 CCGs and 100+ businesses. Connect effectively and efficiently delivers care in a lower cost community setting, transforming services around specific quality and financial objectives and dramatically reducing waiting times and improving access to treatment. For more information please visit www.connecthealth.co.uk