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Airing Pain 72: Breaking the Barriers to Managing Pain

Why self-management isn’t working and what we can do about it

This edition is part of a project funded by the Health and Social Care Alliance.

We know that supported self-management reduces the impact of chronic pain on daily life, but many people in pain feel they are not getting that support from their GPs. Pain Concern’s research shows how simple things like short appointment times and long waiting lists for pain management services combine with more complex problems of communication and culture to hamper self-management.

And it’s not only people in pain who are frustrated with the system – GP Dr Graham Kramer outlines the problems with a medical approach that tries to fix problems that can’t be fixed. That means a difficult journey towards acceptance for people with pain and a transformation in the way doctors interact with patients from being ‘parent’ to ‘coach’.

Issues covered in this programme include: Primary and secondary care, accessibility to health services, patient voice, patient experience, educating healthcare professionals, raising awareness, culture, policy, waiting time, GP, community healthcare, support group, focus group and communicating pain.


  • Katy Gordon, Researcher, Pain Concern
  • Martin Dunbar, Clinical Lead, Glasgow Pain Management Programme
  • Graham Kramer, Scottish Government Clinical Lead for Self-management and Health Literacy.

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