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Pain management programmes key to tackling chronic pain epidemic

23 January 2020

Managing chronic pain through psychological techniques could be the key to alleviating people’s distress.

That is the finding of the review of an established Pain Management Programme (PMP) at Clatterbridge Hospital near Birkenhead.

Data on the PMP has been collected over six years and evaluated by Ryan Flynn and is being presented as a poster today at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in Solihull.

Ryan Flynn, from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The number of people living with chronic pain has been rising, and the distress caused can significantly harm someone’s quality of life and lead to negative mental health outcomes.

Integrated PMPs give patients psychological and practical tools to manage their pain and the distress it causes.

This evaluation of our PMP at Clatterbridge Hospital helps to demonstrate the importance of individuals managing their chronic pain so as to reduce the negative impact on their lives.”

The evaluation looked at 345 patients who attended the PMP over a six-year period between 2013 and 2019.

It found that patients using the service self-reported lower levels of distress following their first session, at the end of the programme, and then at a follow-up session six months later.

At the start of the programme patients rated their distress at 6.86 (out of 10) on average – when followed up six months after completing the PMP, this had dropped to 5.65.

Ryan Flynn added:

“The positive findings from our PMP highlight the importance of offering this type of service provision to people who are living with chronic pain and the subsequent impact it can have on their mental health.”

Supporting patients with chronic pain requires a focus on both physical and psychological aspects of treatment, and our review highlights the value of psychologists working in this area.”

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