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Airing Pain 80: Suffering is Optional

Improv­ing treat­ment for vet­er­ans in pain and fac­ing the chal­lenges of civil­ian life

This edi­tion has been fund­ed by the Mac­Robert Trust and the Forces in Mind Trust.

‘Pain is inevitable, but suf­fer­ing is option­al.’ A mot­to tat­tooed onto the arm of a wound­ed vet­er­an which, although eas­i­er said than done, is good advice for any­one liv­ing with pain. But how can ex-ser­vice per­son­nel get the sup­port they need to man­age the pain and psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma result­ing from what are often hor­rif­ic injuries?

Pro­duc­er Paul Evans finds out in this the first edi­tion of Air­ing Pain’s minis­eries on for­mer mem­bers of the armed forces who live with pain. Infantry vet­er­an Michael Clough, whose injuries left him with com­plex region­al pain syn­drome (CRPS) and requir­ing the ampu­ta­tion of his leg, shares his sto­ry of the dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion from mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals to NHS care. Claire Stephens, CEO of the char­i­ty Wound Care for Heroes, and her­self med­ical­ly-retired after injury, out­lines how care can be improved.

We also hear from pain man­age­ment spe­cial­ists with mil­i­tary back­grounds about the chal­lenges faced by this patient group. Vin­cent de Mel­lo explains why ex-ser­vice­men in pain often feel aban­doned and says that the effects reach beyond the indi­vid­ual to the whole fam­i­ly, while Dominic Ald­ing­ton dis­cuss­es the prob­lem of vet­er­ans feel­ing their pain is dis­be­lieved by civil­ian clinicians.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Vet­er­ans, CRPS: com­plex region­al pain syn­drome, health pol­i­cy, avail­abil­i­ty of pain ser­vices, pri­ma­ry care, phys­io­ther­a­py, PTSD: post trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der, mis­con­cep­tions, GPs and tran­si­tion from mil­i­tary health­care to civil­ian healthcare.


  • Dr Win­ston de Mel­lo, Con­sul­tant in Anaes­the­sia and Pain Med­i­cine, Wythen­shawe Hos­pi­tal, Manchester
  • Michael Clough, army veteran
  • Lt Col Dr Dominic Ald­ing­ton, Con­sul­tant in Pain Man­age­ment and Clin­i­cal Lead, Hamp­shire Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust
  • Claire Stephens, CEO, Wound Care for Heroes.

More infor­ma­tion:

  • Lt Col Dr Dominic Ald­ing­ton is able to take NHS refer­rals of ex-ser­vice­men at his pain clin­ics in Bas­ingstoke and Win­ches­ter. Vis­it to find out more.


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