GPs and pain education: What aspects of pain do... - Pain Concern

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GPs and pain education


What aspects of pain do you think GPs need more education about?

8 Replies

What it's actually like to live with Chronic Pain, e.g. scenario's, situations, how pain affects every part of your life even the parts you would never think about.

GPS are very badly educated in chronic pain. They are very good at the short term predictable things like broken limbs, operations, ear infections and the like.

It's not all the GPs fault though drug companies do not make a range of medication for chronic pain. All pain medication is aimed at short term and resolvable pain. Its just to tide you over until your body kicks in and does the rest.

I think also that pain is so personal and varied within the person that it is difficult for them to standardise therapy. Even people with exactly the same conditions experience different pain patterns and levels of pain.

For me, the pain is not an issue - I made friends with it quite a while ago and it trundles along in the background, occasionally sticking its head up to remind me that it is there. I don't really think of it any more than I would my big toe or the freckle on my arm. Its a part of me.

I find the frustration of having to change the way I live and work, the way I have to restrain myself on good days so I don't get a bad reaction the following days harder to cope with. And for others too, they see me up and about walking, its hard for them to understand the extend of my condition or why I cannot do simple things like walk up a flight of stairs or cycle.

I'm constantly making choices and balancing what I do - If I drive on Monday, I shouldn't on Tuesday. If I work for 4 hours then I need a 10 min break each hour. I need to rotate my activities so that I do not do one thing for too long. If I do the washing one day, I have to wait til the next day to do the hoovering. I have to rotate the chairs I sit on through out the day as well.

Not sure how they could learn about chronic pain and its management. Its all very well shadowing someone but they don't actually feel it or how it affects you as a person.

I also feel GPs require a better understanding of the total effect pain has on someone's life, not only the physical effect but the emotional, financial and social effects also. It doesn't only affect the person but the family too (being unable to contribute financially or join in with either all the jobs around the house or the fun activities with the children I find can be very frustrating). Empathy, even where no further active treatment is available, goes a long way - some doctors are great at this but unfortunately I feel many are too time caught up in curing only and can find it frustrating to be unable to 'manage a condition only'.

Often pain is associated with fatigue - this for me is often the worse symptom. The invisibility of chronic pain/fatigue is something that needs consideration in terms of maybe raising professional and public awareness.

Chronic pain management programmes are a good idea - but access to good ones can be difficult. I wonder if paying pain sufferers to train as programme managers may be a good way forward. within these GPs could deliver sessions (would help them learn, possibly save them money etc).

that it actually exists, would be a good start!

Why is it people always assume you are tired - when you are in pain - they are in deed not the same thing!

i wish they would just listen and actually take people seriously when we tell them we are in pain and that it is messing with our lives. and that its not just depression. i think that is the most ridiculous thing ever for some doctors to automatically assume thats what it is or that just because your young you cant be in that much pain or are to young to have alll the painful symptoms.


My GP tells me they have NO training in Chronic Pain. What they especially fail to understand it is the pain clinics with an armoury of over 300 drugs and several procedures who should be prescribing our meds. They are way too complex for general practice. I have chronic pain permanently because it was not diagnosed by GPS for 2 years. They have also ignored advice/ prescriptions from pain professionals. if you have knowledge of your condition ie. have been on pain management and learnt a bit of the relevant neurology, in my experience they feel threatened and bully you. CATCH 22. You need knowledge to live with your pain, and in my experience the GPs, I use the word advisedly, have damaged me. I have just learned that I may be permanently disabled by having my walking restricted to 5 minutes a away from the 2 miles I took years to build up to. That's two avoidable disabilities if GPs had been trained.


In particular GPs are not aware that pain makes one irritable. After all, the use it to break people in torture and it works very well. Another good piece of education would be that pain states are one of 4 levels in the CNS that are sensitised and maintaining the pain: 1. Peripheral, 2. Spinal, Brain stem, and 4: Brain. Brain is the most serious and complex. It is important to get early treatment to shut down pain receptors, or the pain can progress up these levels. In my experience (I'm "brain" level) one becomes more emotionally fragile as the condition progresses, even if one has a working treatment plan.

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