The pain medicine service treats adults within the Trust’s geographical area who are suffering from chronic, persistent pain.
The aim of the service is to try and help patients lead a fuller and more active life living with their symptoms. The service is run by four consultant anaesthetists with a special interest and training in chronic pain.
Conditions treated by the pain medicine service include various long term symptoms such as back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and headaches. The pain specialists also treat patients with persistent pain following surgery, such as hernia operations, hysterectomies and caesarean sections; other examples of conditions treated are post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), complex regional pain syndrome and fibromyalgia.
International Association for the Study of Pain
Patients are usually referred via an MSK service through their GP or by self-referral. For further information please speak to your GP.
This could include:
- Advice on how best to manage the patient’s symptoms.
- A letter to the referring GP with details of the consultation with advice on management, outlining details of any medication to be prescribed. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the patient.
- A possible referral to other services within the Trust, such as orthopaedics, neurology, rheumatology or physiotherapy. Some patients may require referrals outside the Trust which may include nerve conduction studies, or spinal cord stimulation at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
- If therapeutic or diagnostic injections are considered necessary, these will be undertaken at Crawley Day Surgery Unit. Most procedures are performed under x-ray guidance. Increasingly, ultrasound is also being used for optimum needle placement.
For some patients, in addition to the advice and/or treatment offered, a specific course of treatment to help manage their pain is occasionally recommended. This group program usually involves meetings with pain psychologists, physiotherapist and occupational therapist to try and teach helpful strategies to improve their quality of life despite pain. These patients are usually referred to INPUT pain management programme at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. More information regarding this can be found at www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk and search INPUT pain management programme.
Pain Medicine Outpatient Clinics are held at both East Surrey Hospital and Crawley Hospital on various days of the week.
The first outpatient appointment usually lasts around 30 minutes. The consultant records the patient’s relevant history and general health, and a physical examination will usually take place focussing on the painful area.
A plan of treatment is discussed with the patient at this first outpatient appointment. A follow up appointment may be given, typically lasting for around 15 minutes if the Consultant wishes to review the treatment, particularly following an interventional procedure.