Roles within the team
Medical: Our doctor’s role is to make sure there is a good understanding of the medical issues relating to pain. This ensures we’re not missing anything worrying, and also helps guide how best to move forward with treatment. Other non-pain related medical conditions may have an impact upon rehabilitation and recovery, so we aim to understand this too. Being able to understand why we have pain is important but sometimes there is no clear diagnosis. Often there are a couple of things playing their part in pain; this can explain why treatments sometimes partly work. Education and researching new ways of assessing and managing pain is one of our big interests – which is shared by many of us in the team (and why you may be given the occasional questionnaire..!). Our doctor is also the clinical lead for the team which means he has an overview of what we do, how we do it, and where we are heading as a service.
Nursing: Our nurse works with the team, to support patients who are starting new medication regimes and to give advice and help patients gain maximum benefit from their medication. Alongside this, she explores with patients aspects of self-management and lifestyle changes. The nurse is also involved in provision of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines for pain management. She also practices acupuncture for flair management.
Physiotherapy: Our physios conduct a full assessment of symptoms and previous management, leading to a reasoned diagnosis. They develop co-ordinated and effective plans of rehabilitative care tailored to patients’ needs involving any combination of: further investigations, referral to other team members, teaching self-management and graded and paced exercises, acupuncture, TENS or a variety of hands-on manual therapy techniques and injections.
Occupational Therapy: Occupational Therapy is all about “occupation”, that is to say the activities that make up our daily lives. These may include personal care, washing, dressing, domestic tasks, work and leisure. Our occupational therapist works with patients to develop an action plan to enable them to participate more fully in the tasks they wish to undertake. A variety of methods may be used to achieve this including pacing, goal setting, education, communication, mindfulness/relaxation and provision of adaptive equipment where required. The work may be within a group or on a one-to-one basis dependent upon individual need.
Clinical Psychology: Experiencing pain can affect people not only physically but emotionally as well. Conversely, pain can also be positively affected by the psychology of the individual, by the context they are in and also by medication, physiotherapy and other treatments. Our psychologist aims to have useful conversations with people to find out what they want to be different in their lives, despite their pain, and to think with them about coping, and uncovering their strengths and resources. The hope is to help people to live as well as possible despite the pain. It works best when people are willing and ready to take an active part in making changes.
- Pain Volunteer Group: A voluntary, self-funded website and chronic pain support group ‘ran by pain sufferers for pain suffers’. Provides a wealth of useful information and details of what’s going on in your local area including weekly informal meetings and light exercise classes. Also you can keep in touch with others via the forum! www.painclinicplus.org
- Good Vibrations Choir: The choir is a joint venture between the Community Pain Service and is led by an expert patient volunteer, who has experience of living with pain and expertise as a singing teacher. The choir utilises singing to promote relaxation, wellbeing and self-management of pain. For more information contact: 01704 387020