As promised I have returned armed with more information on pain. At a parliamentary event I attended last year on pain I was fortunate enough to meet Pete Moore who was part of a panel including a specialist GP and pharmacist. The meeting had a variety of people in the audience from charities, BMA and doctors/medical professionals
Two of the take away messages was that GPs should be working with their patients to help manage their pain instead of telling them to wait for their next specialist or pain management appointment. This can include increasing or changing medications.
An under used resource is the community pharmacist who are not just a wealth of information for how to manage a cold but how to take medications such as for pain. Often medications aren't taken correctly due to the hospital pharmacist or specialist not explaining how to take them or the patient becomes freaked out at the potential side effects so doesn't take them. I take a number of medications which have awful side effects but have yet to experience a single one, but other medications not so lucky. Again the pharmacist can explain more about side effects, how to treat, etc. It helps to try and use the same pharmacy for regular medications to help build the relationship with the pharmacist and their team.
A point that the entire panel were in agreement with was that sometimes drugs and surgery isn't the answer to treat all pain. This again is dependent upon the medical condition- endometriosis will need to have surgery but often pain continues even when it has been fully excised. The same is true of other conditions. Sometimes the patient is left in pain and despite medical treatments being used nothing works. It is here that sometimes pain management not using medications is used but physiotherapy/physical therapy, psychologists who help patients to manage pain using various techniques. The availability of these may depend on which part of the UK/local NHS resources and country you live in. Some of these are given in pain management clinics but others might have to go to their GP for referrals.
Pete Moore himself is an author who has suffered with pain himself. He gives talks on the subject to a variety of audiences and developed the paintoolkit website which is a wealth of information. The link to the site is posted below:
I might start a thread on here where myself and other admins will post information on pain from other sites. If anyone has any suggestions for sites they'd like to see added please let us know