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Airing Pain 45: Helping Us to Help Ourselves

Empow­er­ing patients from GP’s surgery to Pain Man­age­ment Programme

This pro­gramme was fund­ed by the Big Lot­tery Fund’s Awards For All pro­gramme in North­ern Ireland.

Health­care pro­fes­sion­als and peo­ple with pain need to work togeth­er to man­age chron­ic pain con­di­tions, but how is this achieved in prac­tice? Paul Evans speaks to a GP, phys­io­ther­a­pist and clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist to find out more.

We begin by hear­ing from GP and pain spe­cial­ist Neville McMul­lan about his work with Ulster Hos­pi­tal to improve access to pain man­age­ment pro­grammes by bring­ing them out of the hos­pi­tal into the com­mu­ni­ty and giv­ing peo­ple the skills to man­age their own pain.

Dr McMul­lan stress­es the impor­tance of get­ting patients out of a cycle of inac­tiv­i­ty and phys­i­cal dete­ri­o­ra­tion. This is where phys­io­ther­a­py comes in as we hear from Ash­ley Mont­gomery, a phys­io­ther­a­pist at Ulster Hos­pi­tal. Mont­gomery describes how under­stand­ing the real­i­ty of chron­ic pain, being believed and get­ting the bal­ance between rest and activ­i­ty right can give peo­ple con­fi­dence to take the first steps towards self-man­ag­ing their condition.

Con­sul­tant Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­o­gist Jen­ny Maguire explains how accep­tance and com­mit­ment ther­a­py (ACT) builds upon CBT (cog­ni­tive behav­iour­al ther­a­py) to help peo­ple adjust to liv­ing with pain as a long term condition.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Phys­io­ther­a­py, acces­si­bil­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ty health­care, activ­i­ty, exer­cise, ACT: accep­tance and com­mit­ment ther­a­py, CBT: cog­ni­tive behav­iour­al ther­a­py, psy­chol­o­gy, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary, pain toolk­it, activ­i­ty-rest cycle, pac­ing, social life, con­fi­dence, flare-up, painkillers and alter­na­tive therapy.


  • Dr Neville McMul­lan, GP, Belfast
  • Ash­ley Mont­gomery, Phys­io­ther­a­pist, Ulster Hospital
  • Jen­ny Maguire, Con­sul­tant Clin­i­cal Psychologist.


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