Does the NHS not provide pain management? - Pain Concern

Pain Concern
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Does the NHS not provide pain management?


My husband have advanced diabetic neuropathy. A condition where his feet are in constant pain. There is no known treatment and the only thing doctors can do is relieve the pain through pain medication. Outside the UK his condition was under control, pain medication stable for years and he could lead a somewhat normal life (Still handicapped by not being able to feel his feet, not being able to walk long distances etc.) - Here in the UK however, we have been told by a number of NHS doctors now that pain management/pain relief is NOT something that is done here. So the only relief is either black market narcotics or suicide. - Is that really so? Did we drop into a dystopian nightmare when I accepted work in the UK?

11 Replies

Very interesting post.

Before I answer.....

Can you tell me where you were, before coming to UK,to get pain treatment and what it was?


in reply to Bananas5

We were in Denmark. And after having been through every treatment available (Some people respond well to a number of medications, like anti-seizure and anti-depressants, that block certain neurotransmitters) my husband was prescribed opiates, finally stabilizing on 60mg methadone, he was getting in on a medical marijuana program when we left Denmark.

in reply to TanyaPr

As you will know...cannabis is still illegal in the UK although a few licenses have been granted in very exceptional cases. We have fought for the right to use as medicinal for many years.

Have you been offered a pain management course? Or attended the pain clinic? There they cover all aspects of chronic pain and much is stressed on managing your own pain. Pacing, physio, acupuncture alongside drugs and procedures.

My husband has periferol neuropathy with no feelings in his legs or arms. He also has 6 vertebrae which have disintegrated so I do understand what you are going through with your husband.


I went on a pain management course , some years ago,

In Hillingdon hospital, in the UK, it was very helpful .

Hello there, I think your GP is giving incorrect information, we do have pain management clinics in England /UK however it is a new thing and not available in all areas. Here is a website that might help you find out where the clinics are available so far or maybe your local healthwatch might know , or PALS, or NHS choices or pain concern its self. Hope the info helps. Welcome to the group.

Idear only, check your husbands vitamin B12 bloods, diabetic neuropathy is often confused by vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy. My Mum was told her feet and leg numbness was probably to do with her diabetes by one Doctor, another clever Doctor just before she passed away said (as I had also highly considered, but couldn’t prove) my Mum’s feet and leg numbness was down to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Both diabetic neuropathy and B12 neuropathy for feet have similar symptoms, but Doctors rarely check B12 bloods or dont know the link.

Anything to do with nerves or neuropathy from head to toe get B12 bloods checked. Don’t accept B12 bloods are normal if under 500, best to double check. (Japanese are known to keep their b12 bloods above 500,) check any B12 bloods out on the Pernicious Anemia (PAS) site here on Health Unlocked which is also for B12 deficiency. This is all written about in a top book by Sally Pacholok, who could spot a B12 patient a mile away. ‘Could it Be B12 an epidemic of misdiagnosis.’

Everyone should read this Health book Doctors included.

Amazing how many we’ll known illnesses are linked to low or deficient B12 and are over looked.

Yes they do, you need your Doctor to refer you

There is s pain clinic in London at the hospital for neurology. Trouble is I have to wait until June for an appointment. The NHS is under awful pressure.

I asked about medical marijuana. Shock and horror! You would think I was asking for crack cocaine. Now even cdb oil is being withdrawn from sale until further research is conducted.

I'm very surprised you were told that; saying that I suppose availability depends on where you live in the UK. I live rurally in the south east and have been going to a pain clinic for the last two years

Please ask for a referral to a hospital based pain clinic. GPs are often reluctant to prescribe stronger drugs for chronic pain but pain clinics will if it is needed. I only have good things to say about my local pain clinic. Don’t give up

Pain clinics aren't actually new in the UK. Most, probably all, hospitals have them but, as others have said, you do need a referral from your GP. Usually it is suggested that you attend a pain management course as part of a group but, if you are fortunate and are referred to one of the best clinics (and there are several excellent ones) you would also have 1 to 1 sessions with a senior doctor, hopefully a Consultant, who may suggest nerve blocks or similar treatments.

However, as has also been mentioned, the medical establishment is groaning under the weight of demand (ever increasing expectations, ageing population, availability of new (and expensive) treatments and under-funding because of political fears of raising taxes to meet these demands. As a result, although undoubtedly available in or near your location these pressures may mean a long wait to actually get an appointment.

I hope you get your referral - and find it useful.

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