Pain Management Service

nurses with patient

Our Pain Management Service provides a comprehensive pain management service for children and young people with acute, procedural and chronic pain.

  • acute pain – includes pain after an operation, after an injury (e.g. a broken bone), or pain associated with an illness (e.g. tummy ache)
  • procedural pain – pain caused by clinical procedures such as blood tests, burns dressings or applying traction for broken bones
  • chronic pain – longstanding pain that is interfering with a child’s schooling and daily activities

The Pain Management Service works with children and young people who have long-term persistent (chronic) pain and help to support their families.

Chronic pain

Pain is associated with many diseases and often treatment of the disease will make the pain better. But sometimes pain does not get better either because of difficulties in treating the disease or because it is difficult to make a diagnosis and therefore offer treatment. Pain continues and sometimes becomes the disease itself.

Our Pain Management Service provides assessment, treatment and support for children and young people with chronic pain, and their families. We help them to manage their pain and reduce its effects on daily life. We also facilitate recovery to the highest possible level whilst minimising physical and psychological distress.

Goals

  • to actively manage pain and reduce its effect on daily life
  • to empower children, young people and their families in dealing with pain and the problems it causes
  • to facilitate recovery to the highest possible level of function, whilst minimising physical and psychological distress

Pain specialists

The Pain Management team includes doctors, clinical psychologists, therapists and nurses who specialise in managing chronic pain.

DoctorsClinical PsychologistsTherapistsNurses

The doctors in the Pain Clinic understand how difficult and frustrating it is to cope with long-standing pain.

It can be particularly frustrating when it seems that clinical staff think that the patient is making up or exaggerating pain. Pain can not be measured by tests; it is subjective (what the patient feels).

The doctors in the Pain Clinic are experts in managing children and young people with long-standing chronic or recurrent pain.

We use medicines, and sometimes nerve blocks, with which other doctors are not always familiar.

However, medicines are not always the only answer for chronic pain and we work closely with other team members (nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists) to help you manage your pain.

Pain Clinic doctors will contribute to your treatment in the following ways:

  • listen closely to understand your symptoms and situation
  • examination
  • diagnosis
  • explanation of pain mechanisms
  • explanation of your disease or syndrome
  • review and prescription of medicines
  • interventional pain block
  • liaison and letters of support to other agencies

We have learnt that living with pain is a really difficult thing and can stop you and your family from doing things that you want to do. It can also make you feel very upset, scared and worried.

Clinical psychologists aim to help children, young people and their families in times of difficulty.

We listen to your concerns and try and understand your situation and find a helpful way forward.

We always believe that your pain is real and are here to help you to make changes for the better.

Clinical psychologists are not medical doctors and so do not prescribe medicines or do any physical examinations. We work closely with other members of the team (doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses).

Families (children and parents) may see a clinical psychologist after Pain Clinic for lots of different reasons, including:

  • difficulties adjusting and coping with your pain
  • anxieties and fears
  • problems at school
  • physical problems made worse by worries
  • traumatic experiences
  • feeling upset all of the time
  • problems within the family resulting from pain
  • no medical explanation for your pain

We are able to talk (with your consent) to other agencies that you are involved with such as school, children’s services and other medical teams.

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists work very closely together. They will look with you at how pain has affected you and your life. Pain can make things difficult in lots of different ways.

Pain management is about looking at what pain does to you, how pain affects you, and how we can help you to cope better with your pain.

Different professionals have different training and special knowledge and may work with you on particular tools. You may need to see different people to help you to learn how to use these tools.

During sessions you will be able to talk about the things that you are finding difficult and ways to tackle the problems that you are facing. This will include how your body moves, and whether you need help to get back to doing everyday things like dressing yourself, getting around school or doing sports activities.

As well as looking at movement and activities, the occupational therapists and physiotherapists will be able to show you pain management tools and ideas that could help you to deal better with your pain. You will probably find that you like and find some ways easier and more helpful than others, but they can all work well together.

Examples include:

  • pain education
  • pacing activities
  • relaxation
  • solving problems and worries
  • activities and exercise
  • sleep management

Living with chronic pain is sometimes very difficult for children and their families. Whilst most children improve with input from our team, sometimes the path is not straightforward. It is not unusual for symptoms to wax and wane and we find that many families find it invaluable to be able to contact the team for advice between appointments. Clinical nurse specialists provide the point of contact for our team.

Clinical nurse specialists are senior and experienced nurses who have usually undertaken advanced training in pain management. You will meet a nurse specialist when you attend for your first appointment in the Pain Clinic. They find it very helpful being able to put a name to a face and we believe that families value this contact as well.

Nurse specialists are closely involved with families after the Pain Clinic. They:

  • will make sure that we have accurate details to contact you
  • provide you with contact details for the pain clinic
  • will be available to provide telephone advice and support
  • provide a co-ordinating role to other members of the pain team
  • supply and teach on the use of TENS machines
  • contribute to the acupuncture service alongside physiotherapy staff

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