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Learn more about pain and what you can do to manage it yourself at our 2-hour education session

The Pain Education Session is for anyone who has had pain for more than 12 weeks. The session will give you a better understanding of your pain to help you manage your condition more effectively in the long term.

What’s does it involve?

We cover the following topics:

  • Understanding pain
  • Managing your activity
  • Managing stress
  • Sleep
  • Managing flare-ups

How will it help me?

The session is an introduction to help you develop a way of dealing with your pain and should allow you to:

  • Know more about your pain
  • Learn how to better deal with stress
  • Be able to enjoy life more
  • Be able to do more

Who will be there?

Two trainers, who have chronic pain themselves, and a small group of people who have long-term pain.

How long will it last?

The session is 2 hours long with a short break in the middle.

Where does it take place?

Online: You will need access to a smart phone, tablet or computer, connected to the internet. We will email you joining instructions before the session starts.

In-person: We plan to offer some in-person sessions, in the near furure, which you can prebook when they are available.

“An excellent help. I loved the whole session”


“It gave an insight into pain and many ideas for coping strategies”


“Offering a patient hope, support and education”

Link Worker, Edinburgh

For more information or to book your place

Online at: Pain Concern’s Eventbrite Page
Call or text us on: 07421 125 638
Email us:

Photo by Timur Shakerzianov on Unsplash

Charles Patterson is Digital Facilitator at Powys Living Well Service

The Powys Living Well Service supports individuals across the rural county of Powys. Charles Patterson explains the importance of providing consistent, high-quality care and support as close to home as possible

Supporting independence with local care

Care and support close to home enables individuals to live well independently for as long as possible. Most of our care is now delivered using digital solutions, with some people requiring additional support to get connected. Our support is delivered by our own digital facilitators who consistently receive great feedback with service users commenting that they have felt looked after and understood. This is especially when they felt worried or uncertain when faced with digital options to connect.

A farmer’s journey to connectivity

As digital facilitators, we meet people from many walks of life. A North Powys sheep farmer provides a good example having been referred by his GP to help with his chronic conditions. He had an initial telephone consultation with a clinician and was introduced to digital support that allowed him to attend online consultations and virtual group programmes. He was automatically emailed a link to an online appointment.

Overcoming technological hurdles

As he did not appear in the virtual waiting room, we gave him a call. It was clear he was very frustrated and stressed. He had been struggling to connect using his phone, being plagued by persistent pain. His sheep were in the middle of lambing, which added extra pressure to an already tense situation.

We took some time to gently engage and put him at ease before attempting to resolve his connection issues. He really appreciated the opportunity to chat and became calmer and more open to trying something new after discussing life as an isolated farmer, and the stresses and strains of modern life.

Step by step approach

Our approach is to spend some time talking through the process and ensuring the service user feels ready to have a go. The user is guided through each step carefully and concisely. Once online, we walk through the functionality and ensure they understand how to get online for their future consultations. In this situation the user felt more comfortable and was very grateful for the opportunity to have a good chat.

Overcoming isolation

Another example involves a lady who has lived in and around Brecon in south Powys all her life. Since her husband of many years died, she had been struggling to manage life on her own and with persistent conditions. She completed her initial one-to-one appointments over the phone and was referred by her clinician for digital support to help her join a virtual programme of learning.

During her appointment with our digital facilitator, she advised us that she wanted to use her late husband’s laptop but had no personal email address. She was unsure how to get started; she told us that she was not confident with technology. As the appointment proceeded it became clear that she would need additional support, and the laptop was rather out of date.

Ensuring access to digital resources

A joint project with Powys County Council’s library service allows people to borrow iPads to connect to their appointments. She attended the library to collect an iPad and receive a detailed briefing.

An in-person digital service session, Powys Library

Building confidence through training

She was very nervous and needed reassurance to overcome her fear of the technology.  We arranged for two further briefing sessions with the experienced team at the library. These sessions were one of the first times she had been out of the house since the pandemic, and she was delighted with the social contact.

Following completion of her briefing sessions she felt confident enough to proceed with her online programme. She successfully completed the whole programme of learning. Nowadays, she meets up with her daughter online, does her banking via an app, and orders her groceries online.

Empowering through digital learning

Delivering digital support early in the process has allowed people to access a much wider range of information and this can lead to better shared decision-making. Making sure that people can join virtual group programmes has accelerated their access to support and negates the need to re-establish face-to-face programmes post pandemic.”

Scaling up care through digital solutions

Across our services, digital support has been key to scaling up our provision. Virtual appointments and clinical programmes have allowed us to help more people, achieve a better outcome, and clearly contribute to living well.

This is an excerpt from our magazine Pain Matters 86.

Living with chronic pain can be a heavy burden. Indeed, people with chronic pain face double the risk of death by suicide compared to individuals without pain. And so it is vitally important to identify those at risk in order to get them the right help and support.

Warwick University, one of our partners, is a key contributor to chronic pain research. They’ve explored factors contributing to suicide risk in chronic pain patients and pinpointed “mental defeat” as a potential predictor.

Mental defeat can occur when individuals with chronic pain view their pain as an ‘enemy’ which takes over their life and removes their autonomy and identity. By identifying it as a prospective predictor of suicide risk, it can enable health professionals to intervene before a crisis occurs.

The downloadable poster below outlines the findings from this research, if you have been affected by this topic, help is available from the NHS.

Pete Moore

Senior Trainer in the NHS Expert Patient Programme and Pain Champion

A free interactive resource developed using cutting-edge technology to help millions living with persistent pain has been launched in collaboration with Teesside University.

AI Pete: Interactive Support for Persistent Pain

Academics from Teesside University’s Centre for Rehabilitation worked alongside artificial intelligence (AI) specialist StoryFile to develop a fully interactive digital version of internationally renowned pain management expert Pete Moore.

Described by StoryFile as a ‘conversational video,’ AI Pete can interact with viewers, answer questions about persistent pain and how it can be managed, and share his first-hand experiences of living with it.

Living with persistent pain can feel very isolating, but this resource provides around-the-clock access to information, advice and support whenever it is needed, and that is a game changer.

Pete Moore
Trained with Over 300 Questions

Pete was filmed answering over 300 questions in the rigorous interview stage of the development process. The AI recognizes questions from viewers and plays the relevant response in real time, as in an ordinary discussion.

It has the potential to help millions of people living with persistent pain to access support, discover new pain management techniques, and improve their quality of life.

Pete’s Personal Journey

Pete, 69, from Essex, worked as a Senior Trainer in the NHS Expert Patient Programme. He has been living with persistent pain for more than 20 years and was named a Pain Champion UK in recognition of his efforts to drive positive change.

AI Pete: A Game-Changing Resource

“I’m fed up with talking about my pain,” Pete smiled. “Now AI Pete can do it for me. Living with persistent pain can feel very isolating, but this resource provides around-the-clock access to information, advice and support whenever it is needed, and that is a game changer. I know how much a tool like this would have helped me back in the day, so I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”

Pete joins Star Trek’s William Shatner, a NASA astronaut, and Holocaust survivors, who have all used StoryFile to record their experiences and leave a legacy.

Integration into the Pain Toolkit

The project has been incorporated into the Pain Toolkit, a resource developed by Pete with useful guidance around persistent pain and self-management used worldwide by patients and medical professionals alike.

People can ask AI Pete to explain more about the different tools in the Pain Toolkit, which include patience, planning, relaxation, and exercise.

Empowering Through Cutting-Edge Technology

Denis Martin, Professor of Rehabilitation and Director of the Centre for Rehabilitation at Teesside University, who led the project, said:

“Teesside University is committed to transforming lives and leads by example when it comes to showing how innovative technologies can be applied to tackling real-world issues.”

“That is exactly what we are doing through this groundbreaking project. There are millions of people out there with persistent pain who will be able to take control of that aspect of their lives by engaging in a conversation like never before. “

“It would be lovely for each and every one of them to have personal contact with Pete, but it is not feasible. So, we’re using cutting-edge technology to find a way to bring Pete and his expert advice on self-management techniques to them.”

AI Pete is an older man, sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a full book case. He is casually dressed wearing a dark orange, short-sleeved polo shirt with light-coloured trousers. He has a short, silver, well-trimmed beard and is wearing glasses.
AI Pete via Storyfile
Importance of Lived Experiences

“While it is very important for patients to get guidance and information from medical professionals, we acknowledge the undeniable benefits which they get from hearing from those with lived experiences of persistent pain as well. That’s where AI Pete comes in.”

Pete’s Perspective on Self-Management

Pete added: “Self-management is a partnership between a healthcare worker and patient, and it can be hugely beneficial. “But healthcare professionals aren’t often given the opportunity to focus on the idea of self-management during their training. This new resource and the Pain Toolkit are raising awareness around the positive potential of self-management in all aspects of healthcare. “The University has been incredibly supportive in the development of this project and the enhancement of the Pain Toolkit. I’ve never had so much support from any other institution.”

Leadership by Teesside University Team

Professor Martin worked with fellow Teesside University academics Professor Cormac Ryan, Dr Sophie Suri and Dr Andrew Graham on the project.

Last year some of our members kindly contributed to a study carried out by the University of Strathclyde on behalf of HIS (Healthcare Improvement Scotland). This study aimed to explore the advice and support offered to patients by pharmacists taking common painkillers known as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs eg. ibuprofen, naproxen). They were particularly wanting to find out if a newly developed NSAID toolkit provided to community pharmacists had made any impact on the advisory practices. The overall aim is to improve patient safety.

The study is now complete and here are some of the their findings:

Staff Insights

  • Staff using the toolkit are more likely to use the practical resources (such as the till prompts or stickers).

  • Staff who have used the Toolkit report their confidence has increased. Also the amount and quality of their advice they offer has improved.

Insights from those collecting or purchasing NSAIDs

  • There is variation in the delivery of NSAIDs information and advice across community pharmacies.

  • When people do receive advice around NSAIDs safety they find this helpful.

  • People who have been given advice say they are more likely to go to a pharmacy for advice in the future.

Calderside Medical Practice in Lanarkshire has moved from treating persistent pain as a symptom that needs a drug to treating it as a long-term condition that can be managed with information and support.

Since changing their approach in 2016 they have registered around 300 patients with pain and have halved their prescribing of both opioid and gabapentinoid medicines. Patients at the practice find they need to attend GP surgeries less frequently since they have benefitted from rehabilitation through pain management consultations with access to multi-disciplinary support.

Dr Kieran Dinwoodie, one of the doctors at Calderside Medical Practice, gives his perspective on this approach.

Consultation Model

My consultation model is based on building trust. This means my patients have to feel heard, validated and supported. This helps move the conversation on from ‘what’s the matter’ through to ‘what matters to you?’

First Consultation

At the first consultation there are often multiple problems and high emotions. It is not possible, or fair, for the patient (or for me!) to try and manage this in ten minutes.The goal is to build a relationship, not fix a problem. I start with the biomedical assessment to make sure there are no indications of underlying problems that need to be investigated. I also check if there are active mental health problems. The next step is to be honest and let the patient know there is no magic tablet, and that this is a long-term condition in its own right. I explain that I will work with the patient to improve their quality of life. At the end of the first consultation I tell the patient about the practice website which has lots of clear, easily-accessible resources offering information and support. We then follow up in around one month.

Follow Up

At the follow up consultation, I focus on the pain management plan and especially goals for what the patient wants for themselves. At this point we also discuss medication options. This might mean screening for neuropathic pain, and ensuring any medication is appropriate. Also, if there are associated mental health problems, I discuss appropriate medication that might be helpful.


Many people need more support than their GP can offer. Having access to skilled practitioners and voluntary organisations helps improve outcomes. The key is trust and for people to feel supported. Our occupational therapist helps our patients improve their daily functioning and our pharmacist helps with supported opioid and gabapentinoid reductions.

Multidisciplinary Team Flow Chart
A headshot of Dr Mick Serpell.

Dr Mick Serpell, Consultant in Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine for Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Let me explain, I work with patients who have chronic pain. My journey as a novice in the triathlon world required me to make changes in my beliefs and behaviours.

Changes very similar to those required by patients with chronic pain, who wish to regain some form of ‘normal’ life after all available treatments have been tried and failed. This rehabilitation is usually done through a process called a ‘pain management program’

It all started with my first ever triathlon event, just off Oban in August 2013. The ‘Craggy Island’ triathlon involves a small swim (550m) from the mainland to Kerrera Island, then a 14K mountain bike ride, followed by an 8K cross-country hill run. The short swim distance was what attracted me, as I could not swim more than two lengths of a pool without gasping for air. Swim training started six weeks before race day. Slowly I built up my tolerance to twenty-two pool lengths. I was ready, right?

Wrong! A sea swim is completely different from a pool swim. Cold and choppy is the water, and you can’t see what lurks below! It was a memorable introduction for me to the world of open triathlon – nearly drowning on three occasions.

However, I made it to shore and crawled into the transition area for the bike phase. As I warmed up and established a rhythm in the running section, I clawed my way up (literally on some of those hills!) to finish in just over 2 hours.


I had survived! Feelings of immense satisfaction and disbelief hit me at the same time. And, rather strangely, I had enjoyed myself. If I were to do this again, though, I would need to be much, much better prepared .

Making plans

Over the next two months I pondered. I read a book on triathlon training (Be Iron Fit by Don Fink), focusing particularly on time management (Preparation). Could I devote the time required? I decided to bite the bullet and booked a triathlon event as late in the 2014 season as possible (Goal setting) in order to avoid starting the 30-week training programme until well after the Christmas holidays – I enjoy my food and drink a little too much (Boom and bust).


Training started in January 2014 with the ‘5K challenge’, which a group of friends were doing after the festive indulgences (Action). The challenge is to run 5K every day for the whole of the month. It is a real test of commitment to do it every single day, for 31 consecutive days, especially during that dark and miserable month. On some days the run was done at 4 AM before going to the airport or at 11:30 PM after a busy day on call. But I completed the challenge and knew then that the task was possible.


I had never intended to do a full Ironman. I booked it as there was no other triathlon event late enough in the season that didn’t clash with holiday or business trips. I naïvely thought that doing the training for a full Ironman couldn’t be much more effort than training for a half! My 30-week schedule factored in practice events such as a Standard (Olympic) distance triathlon. These revealed my weaknesses (fitness, technique and equipment) and gave me specific areas to focus on (how to fix a flat tyre mid-race, how not to forget to bring a wetsuit and have to borrow one two sizes too small!). Completing these events also gave me confidence that the big race was achievable.

Taking Part in Ironman Wales

Sea swim (2.4 miles), bike ride (112 miles) and marathon (26 miles) all in one day!

So the big day finally arrived, much quicker than expected. I would like to share what I think are two important lessons from my Iron Man.

Lesson 1 – Preparation

The closer I got to the event, the more I realized that mental preparation was absolutely essential before the race. So, I drove down straight from work (4 hours sleep in Cardiff) to arrive in Tenby on the Friday morning for the first practice swim.

There was a sea swell of up to two feet. I spent the next two mornings just getting familiar with the conditions. Thanks to my practice sessions in Scottish waters, cold water temperature was not an issue. On race day (Sunday) the swell did not look so bad when we started at 7 AM. It soon picked up – many were seasick and vomiting, over a hundred swimmers were pulled out and the swim stage was very nearly cancelled.

I was not ignorant of these facts as I was either being tossed up in the air by waves or buried under them in an avalanche of water. I didn’t try to fight the conditions; I was relaxed and calm and accepted them (mindfulness). The next day in my hotel, I met a seasoned Ironman who said he had never experienced such rough waves and did not finish the swim. I strongly believe that without those two preparation days, I would not be writing this story in quite the same way.

Lesson 2 – ‘Pace and Graze’

This is common knowledge amongst competitors, but putting it into practice can be difficult. The temptation is to fire off and chase the others in the bike section. If you do, then it’s more than likely you will hit the ‘wall’ towards the end, as you may not have enough fuel in the tank. The bike section is where you do most of your eating and drinking because it’s harder whilst running.

Usually, it is a matter of getting into a steady bike pace and start consuming! But, after THAT SWIM, the nausea put paid to oral intake for nearly an hour. It is hard holding back on the pace, but it returns dividends later when you can gradually increase momentum and reel in those riders who went off too soon.

To the end

To reach the marathon section was a relief – barring an accident, I would complete. I knew that I could jog, shuffle, walk or even crawl a full marathon if I had to. I ran the first 10K, then did a mix of walking uphill and shuffling on the flats and downhill. All the while the enthusiastic crowds lining the streets kept us all going. Their encouragement and genuine support was immense. It can never be overstated just how much it means to have people recognize and acknowledge the pain and effort you are struggling with.

Summing Up

After completion those same feelings of immense satisfaction and disbelief which I had experienced at Craggy Island hit me again. Tenby was a fantastic experience, which I will remember forever, and one that I would recommend everyone to try. I will definitely repeat it again, but for now I’m enjoying the rest. This is a luxury that pain patients don’t have. Will I relapse? Who knows? I’m only human. But I have a program, which I can now follow. It’s up to me and it’s my choice whether I reach termination.

If you would like to find out more about raising money for Pain Concern (not necessarily involving extreme physical exertion!), visit our fundraising page.

This is an excerpt from Pain Matters 61