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Thread: What goes on at a pain clinic?!

  1. #1

    What goes on at a pain clinic?!

    Sorry, I know this is a bit of a daft question but several people have said to me recently (including a nurse) that I should ask my GP for a referral to a pain clinic. So what happens at a pain clinic? Is it a sort of medication review? A look at different methods of pain relief? I do not know anyone who has been to one so have no idea whether it's the sort of thing that would be of use.

    I currently take gabapentin (600-900mg 3 times a day) and co-codamol 30/500 as required in between the gabapentin. I am hesitant to take anything stronger for fear of side effects and also because I don't want to think that there is nowhere else to go in the future if my pain gets worse or what I'm taking stops working. Most of my pain is neuropathic pain in my legs but I also have chronic lower back pain as a result of dislocated verterbrae (25 years ago and resulted in nerve damage). Before I was put on the gabapentin I was in intense pain most of the time so although there are times when nothing seems to help, overall I think it does help a fair bit. I also use a TENS machine, heat pads and have some exercises from physio.

    Would a pain clinic be of help to someone like me? Or is it a waste of time if you're reasonably satisfied with (or accepting of) current medication and pain levels?

  2. #2
    A pain clinic looks at all methods of treating pain. They may prescribe a combination of drug and homeopathic therapy such as acupuncture.
    Worth giving them a try as they may come up with a combination that gives you more relief.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Crikey Catlover, I think you could teach the pain clinic a few things there.

    When you've had chronic pain for many years you'll know what works and what doesn't.

    Like you, my pain is neuropathic pain due to nerve damage. I sometimes treat myself to a deep massage by a neuro physiotherapist which is wonderful!

    I try to limit the amount of coda mol otherwise you'll end up constipated.

    Something you may not have considered is swimming. Your local leisure centre may put on adults only swimming sessions. They should have a pool side hoist to enable easy exit and entry to the pool, They should also have disabled changing rooms / toilets. They will allow free access for a friend/PA. It is a good way of exercising and stretching muscles without fear of doing damage.
    Last edited by Lighttouch; 05-12-2014 at 08:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Some pools also have sessions specifically for the disabled. Ours does.

  5. #5
    Hydrotherapy has been recommended by my physio but tbh me and water don't really get along all that well. And I hate the smell of chlorine. In fact I hate everything about swimming pools. Maybe I need to give it a go to find out whether it helps and whether I hate it as much as I think I will! Sessions are twice a week for several weeks though and getting that time off work is difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post

    I try to limit the amount of coda mol otherwise you'll end up constipated.
    Easily remedied with a double espresso

  6. #6
    It depends a little on the pain clinic in question.

    These days, I'm under the National Hospital for Neurology's pain management centre, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to pain.

    They have pain management physiotherapists, who use a loosely cognitive behavioural approach (and I mean loosely - it's far from formal CBT) to helping you set realistic goals, handle setbacks and get the most out of life despite pain. Numeric goals are banned, as they encourage people to push too hard.

    Others who need more intensive help with the psychological aspects of pain are seen by specialist psychologists. I've no experience of this side of things, as it was felt to be unnecessary in my case.

    They also have the usual anaesthesiologists and allied staff, partly to provide interventions such as anaesthetic injections or infusions, and partly to advise on the use of oral medication.

    Good pain clinics are really helpful. Bad pain clinics are soul destroying places to be. I've experienced a bad pain clinic - I'm not going to say which hospital but the treatment I received amounted to emotional abuse.

    There are approaches for neuropathic pain that could provide better control without extra medication on a day to day basis. My neuropathic pain is managed partly by quarterly intravenous infusions of high dose lidocaine - the same stuff used for many dental anaesthetics. The effect in me lasts 8-10 weeks before fading. As I'm wasting less energy on coping with pain and on the consequences of poor sleep because of pain, I have more energy for other things.

    Ultimately, if you're not happy with what you are being told, you have the right to walk away.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Catlover, as you are a Manchester based lass who is working here are some ideas as to which leisure centres offer disabled swiming sessions outside normal 9-5pm working hours.

    Cheadle Hulme - a very nice 33 metre pool with a hoist but also steps with handrails. The hour reserved for disabled swimmers is on a Wednesday between 7.30 - 8.30pm. I consider this to be one of the nicest pools in the area - so light and airy. You only need to do 48 lengths to clock up a mile!

    Wilmslow Leisure Centre - 25 metre pool with a hoist. Disabled changing rooms by pool edge. Nice bright pool and friendly. Life guards patrol. Tuesday 7.30 - 8,30pm

    Sale Leisure Centre
    - Sailfin Swimming Club. Meets on a Sunday 10am - 12 noon. Takes place in the smaller pool which is still about 25 metres long. Entrance to the right rear of complex not via any reception area.

    Whenever I've gone along to these type of sessions I don't bother stopping at the reception - I just go straight to the changing rooms.

    The nice thing about swimming is that it's 'social swimming' - it's just for exercise and socialising.

    The Sailfin group are more competitive and do take a disabled swimming team to different venues to compete but it's not against each other. You might decide to swim 4 lengths and the winner is the person who swims the nearest time to their personal best time wins a small trophy - it's all a bit of fun.

    I used to go to Wilmslow every week and I introduced free scuba diving once a month. Now that sport is soething that most physically disabled people can do. From those small beginnings it encouraged me to scuba dive in the Red Sea off Egypt and i the Barrier Reef, Australia - so watch out before lomg you might take to water like a duck to a pond!
    Last edited by Lighttouch; 05-13-2014 at 08:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    we drove through wilmslow at the W/E!( I am a Londoner)(so I was a lonf way from home)
    catlover, often hydrotherapy takes place in special pools (smaller, more relaxed , warmer)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    Catlover, as you are a Manchester based lass who is working here are some ideas as to which leisure centres offer disabled swiming sessions outside normal 9-5pm working hours.
    Thanks Detective Lighttouch!

    I think the hydrotherapy pool was somewhere in Cheadle but I don't know where as I never got that far with it.

    I may need a couple of years to think about the idea of swimming

    How would I know whether a clinic is a good one or bad one? Would I be allowed to choose one or would I have to just go where my GP sent me?

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    If you don't go you will never know whether tis good or bad. I don't go to a clinic but found massage helps, cocodamol takes the edge off, swimming keeps the muscles moving. Don't be afraid to try acupuncture, aromatherapy, reiki...........what have you got to lose?

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