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The project – Breaking the barriers to self-management

Self-management – we know it’s one of the things that can most improve the lives of people living with pain, but all too often it’s not being put into practice successfully.

After speaking to people with pain and healthcare professionals, we’ve been able to put together a clearer picture of what is going wrong and how we might make things better.

Further resources: you can read a short interview with Pain Concern Researcher Katy Gordon about the study here and read the full research study report here.

To read the transcript of this programme, please click here.

Published September 2015. Text to be reviewed September 2018.


Great job
I wish that we can measure the same things in different cultures

Thanks a lot for making life of pain patients more understandable

Pain specialist
King Saud University

“oh you’ve got a bit of crumbling in your spine dear” – argh, it was going so well up until that section at around minute ten! This looks like an interesting piece of research and a useful start in educating people about self management, unfortunately the patronising way this doctor chose to talk about people in pain looking for answers in that section was insultingly dismissive and reminiscent of too many medical professionals. I would be pretty offended if I was one of his patients and I saw this.

In fairness to Martin Johnson, he’s describing a situation in which a doctor might cause needless worry to a patient by carelessly (and perhaps also patronisingly) talking about ‘crumbling’ in their spine. This is absolutely not what he thinks doctors should be saying to patients!

Found the interviews very interesting,but yes Drs have such limited time for anyone now, I have been in severe chronic pain for 25 years,and no pain killers generally work for chronic pain.It would be good to know if there are private practitioners that would help self management of chronic pain and give more time,I know more expensive,but I don’t know anyone at present who works in this field,other than the recent mindfulness approach which is very interesting,especially a Newzealand woman Vidyamala Burch who has chronic pain herself,her book mindfulness for chronic pain is a marvel ,but again it takes so much practice,and when you are feeling desperately low because pain is 24/7 it’s a slog.So yes it would be so helpful to have a coach to see you through a tough life living with chronic pain

Hello Wendy, thank you for contacting us! I believe the issue is that until pain is more widely acknowledged in terms of medical help with specialised GP and nurse training, we all have to be our own coaches.

We’ve covered Vidyamala Burch’s work with mindfulness techniques in our Airing Pain podcasts – AP4 and AP47, so feel free to give them a listen when you have a moment. Vidyamala also has a regular column in our Pain Matters magazine.

Might I also suggest the books listed in our shop? Specifically the Pain Management Programme by Robert Lewis? Additionally, there’s also the great work that Pete Moore is doing with his Pain Toolkit? He is very active on Twitter and often answers reader questions for us in our magazine, so he may be your best bet. Any further questions then don’t hesitate to reply or phone our Helpline on 0300 123 0789 (10am-4pm; Mon-Fri). Best wishes!

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