Understanding Persistent Pain

Most of us have experience of everyday pain including headaches, pain from minor injuries and muscular pain, for example following exercise.

These pains are self-limiting and often do not need treatment. All pain is affected by current mood, past experience of pain and concerns about the cause of the pain. Worries and distress about the impact of the pain and what the implications are for the future will worsen the experience of pain.

Also, unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and memories (even if those are unrelated to pain) can influence how we perceive pain. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and previous emotional trauma or other mental health diagnoses, are likely to worsen the experience of pain and make it more difficult to treat.

Persistent pain can cause low mood, irritability, poor sleep, and mobility impairment. Unlike acute pain, persistent pain is difficult to treat with most types of treatment helping less than a third of patients. Most treatments aim to help patients self-manage their pain and improve function in a number of domains, with different treatments work for different patients.

Medicines generally and opioids, in particular, are often not very effective for persistent pain. Helping patients understand about persistent pain is important and in particular helping them understand that physical activity does not usually cause further tissue damage and is therefore safe.

It is important that patients with persistent pain understand the aim is to support patients in functioning as well as possible, living well with pain and improving their lifestyle choices and social inclusion through community support.

At Connect, we all share the same passion for delivering the best service, treatment and patient experience we can. You could say it’s in our DNA to help people improve their quality of life.