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Airing Pain 49: The Impact of Pain on Society

Talking to representatives from a variety of pain organisations, including the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association, about the wide-reaching impact that pain has on society

This edition has been funded by a grant from the Scottish Government.

Christine Johnston heads to Brussels to investigate the impact that pain has on society as a whole at the Societal Impact of Pain lobby group’s fourth annual event. She talks to Neil Betteridge of Neil Betteridge Associates which promotes a holistic approach to pain management. Betteridge explains that early intervention is beneficial not only for the patient but also for employers, as it leads to faster, more effective treatment and less time spent outside of the workplace. Jamie O’Hara, who works with Adelphi Real World and the Haemophilia Society, discusses the results of a survey carried out about the effect pain has on society, which found that those living with chronic pain and their carers experience disproportionately high levels of unemployment.

Christine also speaks to Jacqui Lyttle, an Independent Commissioning Consultant, who criticises the current care given to those with chronic pain conditions, citing wrong diagnoses and the subsequent delays in accessing effective treatment as the main issues. She explains that pain management costs more when it’s not managed effectively than when it is, both in terms of money and in working days lost through illness.

Paul Evans then meets Jillie Abbott, the Projects Officer of Trigeminal Neuralgia Association, who describes the organisation’s attempts to raise awareness of the little-understood condition within the healthcare profession, citing the high frequency of misdiagnoses and ineffective treatment as the motivation for this educational focus. She also shares some coping mechanisms that can help those living with Trigeminal Neuralgia and emphasises the need for better communication between people living with the condition and healthcare professionals.

Issues covered in this programme include: Trigeminal neuralgia, orofacial pain, holistic approach, workplace, employment, misdiagnosis, communicating pain, raising awareness, stigma, patient experience, discrimination, social support, the biopsychosocial model, economic impact and carers.


  • Christine Johnston,  Pain Concern
  • Neil Betteridge, Owner of Neil Betteridge Associates and Vice-Chair of Chronic Pain Policy Coalition
  • Jamie O’Hara, Adelphi Real World and elected trustee of Haemophilia Society
  • Jacqui Lyttle, Independent Commissioning Consultant
  • Jillie Abbott, Projects Officer of Trigeminal Neuralgia Association.
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