Chronic Pain Management in Primary Care

“As Pain Consultants make their patients aware: “chronic pain is a common, complex & challenging condition, where confronting the biological, social, physical & psychological contexts is vital to successful outcomes in primary care. Recent screening tools & brief intervention techniques [employed by Pain Doctors], can be effective in helping them identify, stratify & manage both patients already living with chronic pain, & those who are at risk of developing chronic pain from acute pain. Frequent assessment & re-assessment are key to ensuring treatment is appropriate & safe, as well as minimising & addressing side effects” [1]

So What is Primary Care Exactly?

This term refers to healthcare provided by the community for people to make an initial approach to a (private or national health) medical practitioner or clinic, for the purpose of receiving treatment or advice. “Consultations on pain account for 22% of all primary care consultations, and pain is one of the main reasons for patients seeking contact with healthcare” [1].

Did You Know?

“Patients with chronic pain visit their GP twice as often as patients without chronic pain. They also have a considerably higher level of use of emergency & unscheduled care than patients without chronic pain, thus risking a care plan dictated by short-term decision making rather than comprehensive oversight of their pain as a whole” [1], & this is just one reason why registering with a Pain Specialist is the smart way to go!

The Bottom Line

Substantial research shows that primary care management must be holistic and (where feasible), evidence-based. Moreover, it should include both non-pharmacological and pharmacological options. These include a plethora of different modalities, such as: comprehensive pain-management programs (such as those devised by Pain Specialists, which are personalised according to each individual patient’s needs); complementary therapies; stimulation of the peripheral nervous system; physiotherapy; self-management; and psychology [1]. Generally speaking, Pain Doctors often work with a multidisciplinary team. Furthermore, they frequently refer patients to non-team professionals who administer promising forms of treatment outside their remit.

The important point to note here, is that while many patients with long-term pain go to see their GP as the first point of call, the fact of the matter is that unfortunately, very few general practitioners in the UK have had the extensive speciality training and years of expertise in pain management and amelioration, that Pain Consultants have. To that end, booking a consultation with an experienced Pain Consultant, virtually guarantees an accurate diagnosis, and a cutting-edge multifaceted, Personalised Holistic Treatment Plan.


[1]. Mills et al. “Identification and Management of Chronic Pain in Primary Care: a Review.” Curr Psychiatry Rep.2016; 18: 22.