Chronic Pain Services

Pain is defined as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage”.

The two main types of pain are Acute (lasting a few days to weeks) and Chronic (lasting more than 6 weeks up to years). Chronic pain can arise from known or unknown causes and it can be very unpleasant and distressing. Chronic pain can often have a negative impact on the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of a person.

The chronic pain services in the Northern Trust are consultant led and aim to work alongside patients to help them manage their pain, using a combination of medications, injection therapy, physiotherapy and Pain Management Programmes (sometimes referred to as PMPs).

Pain clinicians use medications (analgesics) that you may not recognise as painkillers. They should be taken as per instructions and leaflets are provided to patients with all necessary information related to medications.

Treatments offered for pain management include multimodal techniques such as physiotherapy, acceptance therapy and for a very select group of patients, interventions such as epidural/nerve root injections, lumbar and cervical medial branch blocks/Radiofrequency ablations, Sacro-iliac joint injections, IV lidocaine infusions, advanced interventions such as Spinal Cord Stimulators etc. to name a few.

Pain clinics are held at Antrim, Whiteabbey, Mid Ulster and Causeway hospital sites. New patients have a consultation session with a consultant, where they will receive information about management of pain. Outpatient reviews are also carried out by our specialist pain nurse in Causeway hospital. You may also be offered a telephone review carried out by a consultant or specialist pain nurse.

Pain Management Programmes (PMPs) are groups that are organised and run by a range of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists and a consultant anaesthetist, often referred to as a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The programmes aim to help patients learn new skills to improve their ability to manage their chronic pain. Some of the topics covered include:

  • learning to manage everyday activity
  • getting involved in gentle exercise
  • learning skills to relax your mind and body
  • educational sessions to help understand why pain persists

PMPs are held in Antrim, Ballymoney and Carrickfergus. Please talk to your consultant, specialist nurse or physiotherapist if you would like to find out more information about attending one of these programmes.

Get the most from your visit

  1. List your medications or bring an old prescription along.
  2. If you have a copy of the report of any investigations (under NHS or private), please bring it along.
  3. Arrive well before the appointment time to make allowances for car parking and registration at reception desk.
  4. Late cancellations and failure to attend waste doctor’s valuable time and deny other patients the chance of an earlier consultation.

Live well with pain

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