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Happy New Year from all of us at Pain Matters. In our first magazine of the new decade, we have invited the Chronic Pain Team from NHS Borders in the south of Scotland into the guest-editor’s chair for issue 74. In a jam-packed issue, they have looked at everything from the Pain Management Jigsaw, which tries to bring together all the different aspects of managing pain, to the role of occupational therapy and how laughter can be a tool in the pain management toolbox.
Also in issue 74, Vidyamala Burch returns with her Being Mindful column, giving her three reasons why mindfulness is helpful for ‘living well with pain’.
In issue 73 of Pain Matters, we published an article about the Matrix programme, developed by the Pain Management Centre at University College London Hospitals to help introduce mindfulness into their neuropathic pain treatment.
You can read all about the programme here: thriveglobal.com/stories/how-a-mindfulness-based-approach-is-helping-people-manage-chronic-pain/
Or, to read the original article in our Pain Matters Neuropathic Pain Special, click here to buy or subscribe.
Listen to the trailer below
In April 2019, the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales launched the guidance document Living with Persistent Pain in Wales. Later, in December, the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition brought together some of Wales’s leading pain experts at the home of the Welsh parliament (or Senedd Cymru) in Cardiff, at an event chaired by Neil Betteridge, co-chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, a group which brings together a wide range of chronic pain stakeholders including professional bodies, patient organisations, parliamentarians and industry representatives from across the UK.
This edition of Airing Pain was recorded live at the event, where clinicians, academics, policy-makers and people living with pain came together to discuss both the new document and the future of chronic pain services across the region.
We are delighted to announce that our popular booklet on neuropathic pain has been revised and reprinted, thanks to an award from Foundation Scotland.
The booklet, originally written by Dr John Lee, has been revised and updated by Dr Alan Fayaz, Consultant in Chronic Pain Medicine, Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust.
This booklet starts by addressing the causes of neuropathic pain, from the more common causes, such as nerve damage and entrapment, diabetes or post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles); to less common causes, such as trigeminal neuralgia (a form of facial pain), multiple sclerosis, phantom limb pain or pain related to cancer or cancer treatment.
There is an extensive section on the drug treatments available for people with neuropathic pain, and why standard painkillers, such as paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g. ibuprofen) and simple opioid drugs (e.g. codeine) are often not effective in treating neuropathic pain. In some cases, antidepressants like amitriptyline and antiepileptics like those in the gabapentinoid family (such as gabapentin and pregabalin) are prescribed instead, as they are found to be more effective in a lot of cases. This revised booklet does, however, mention the recent law classification changes to gabapentin and pregabalin, which are a common treatment for people with neuropathic pain, and how these changes might affect the people who find these drugs effective. This was a subject Pain Concern delved into more deeply in programme 114 of Airing Pain, ‘You, Your Drugs, and the Law: Gabapentinoids & Medicinal Cannabis’, also funded by the Foundation Scotland grant.
The final section of the booklet studies non-drug treatments for neuropathic pain. Many people with neuropathic pain find standard pain management techniques are not as applicable to their pain (a subject which Tina from livingwellpain.net goes into in a lot of detail in the current issue of Pain Matters magazine). Drs Lee and Fayaz look at pain self-management techniques for people with neuropathic pain, as well as other non-drug treatments such as physiotherapy, pain management programmes and stimulation procedures like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), where an electrical signal is used to stimulate the nerves.
The revised leaflet has been published on our website and we welcome your comments. We are extremely grateful to the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK and the Shingles Support Society for their support and collaboration in the publication of this leaflet.
You can read the full leaflet here
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