Pain Management Programme

An image of a group of people sat watching a presentation in
the Pain Management Programme. 

What is a Pain Management Programme?

A Pain Management Programme (PMP for short) is a practical and educational programme that supports you to make changes to improve your quality of life whilst still living with pain. It is not about treatments being done to you, or about making your pain go away. It is about learning and using new and existing self-management skills to help you deal better with the pain.

The PMP is run by a team comprising a Clinical Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Nurse, and Occupational Therapist. All team members specialise in persistent pain management. The team will support you with working on the things you want to achieve.

An image of a digital jigsaw with words relating to pain management in each piece

The course is informal and consists of talks and discussions on the following areas:

  • Persistent pain and its effect on life
  • Goal setting and pacing
  • Stress management and relaxation
  • Managing activity, mood, and sleep patterns
  • Understanding how pain affects relationships
  • Using medication effectively
  • Communication
  • Planning ahead
  • Maintaining change
  • Graded exercise
  • Managing flare-ups

You will be asked to try things out in group sessions, and at home, to help you to develop new pain management skills. You will be given handouts as a reminder of what the programme included.

When living with persistent pain, physical activity may be difficult. To help reduce these difficulties, there will be an exercise programme that will benefit the whole body, not just areas that are painful.

The physiotherapist will help you to learn how to exercise at the right level for you. Everyone is encouraged to exercise at their own pace, within their abilities, in a way that does not intensify the pain for a long period of time.

Sometimes people are concerned because there is a psychologist on the PMP, and wonder if we might think that their pain is “all in the mind”. This is not the reason. We understand that the pain is real.

However, as well as affecting you physically, pain can have an effect on your thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings can also have an effect on pain experience. The way we think and feel also affects the way we respond to pain, and can change the way we manage the difficulties that living with pain bring.

Having pain may also have an effect on those around you. The psychologist is there to help you to find different ways of looking at things, in order to address some of the additional difficulties that can occur.

At first, you will attend an Information session to meet team members and to give you a chance to understand fully why the PMP has been recommended for you. If, at that time, you think that the programme is right for you, you will be invited to an individual assessment with the PMP team.

The PMP is made up of one group session per week, with six sessions in total. Each session is four hours long, but there will be refreshment breaks, and you will be encouraged to move around throughout, rather than sitting in one place for too long.

There will be a short, individual reassessment session after the group programme has finished, and a group-based follow-up approximately 10-12 weeks after that.

Most people with persistent pain have spent a long time looking for something that takes their pain away, and have had lots of different treatments.

The PMP will provide information about why, for some people, pain is long-term and does not go away.

The PMP does not offer a ‘miracle cure’. People achieve different benefits from attending a PMP.

Making changes that help with the pain will take time. Attending the programme is like taking driving lessons. At the end, you pass your test. After that point, you have some skills and you learn how to drive with your own style, in a way that works for you.

PMPs are recommended by the British Pain Society as the best form of treatment for people who have persistent pain conditions that cannot be medically cured. They are evidence based programmes that can help people to reduce the distress, suffering and disability that can occur when experiencing persistent pain.

At first, many people are not sure whether a PMP will be helpful for them. Some people do not notice the benefits of attending until later on in the programme, which is why it is important that you attend all sessions.

If you have difficulties attending the sessions, please discuss with the team before starting the programme. We will support you to attend and try to ensure you get as much as possible from the programme.

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