Dunstable: 01582 608 400 
Leighton Buzzard: 01525 372 447 
info@woodsideclinic.co.uk 
 
 
Dunstable: 01582 608 400 
Leighton Buzzard: 01525 372 447 
 

Chronic Pain and how to manage it.. 

What is pain? 
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or as described by the patient in terms of such damage . There are two basic types of pain; acute and chronic. 
In chronic (persistent) pain, even thought the original cause of the pain may have stopped, the other factors may still be present, so the brain keeps the pain cycle going. 

Common Pain Beliefs: 

There is a common misunderstanding that 
• Pain = Tissue damage 
• The amount of pain experienced= The EXTENT of the tissue damage 
Several studies have indicated that this is not the case. 
 
Below is a compilation of results of 33 articles covering MRI reports of 3110 people without back pain. 

Factors influencing pain volume 

We often refer to the amount of pain in terms of volume. There are certain factors that can increase or decrease the volume of pain. 
Volume Increase: 
 
Anxiety 
Inactivity 
Tension 
Worry 
Tiredness 
Lack of control 
Fear 
Depression 
Thinking about the pain 
Stress 
Previous poor experiences 
Volume Decrease: 
 
Information and education 
Exercise and stretching 
Relaxation 
Distraction 
Pacing 
Sense of control 
Social interaction 
Known positive outcomes 
Reassurance 
Previous positive experience 
Useful tips on decreasing the volume: 
 
Acceptance - Recognizing that you have chronic pain and have to take more control with regards to how you can better self-manage your pain. 
 
Support team- having a support network (GP, health care professionals, family and friends) that will help you maintain your self-management plan. 
 
Pacing- ensuring you have the right balance between activity and rest. Some examples below: 
Ironing- Spread it over a period of days, do small amounts frequently over the week 
Shopping- instead of one large shop a week, do 2-3 shops in a week. Get friends and family to help with the heavy items or if on your own, buy smaller quantities/packs. 
 
Distraction - Everyone has strategies that work for them. Like pain medication, however, you may have to try several things before you find the distraction technique that is right for you. Try some of these: 
Watch your favourite television program 
Call a friend and chat about anything other than pain 
Read a book 
Participate in a relaxing hobby, such as knitting or card-making 
Do a challenging word puzzle 
Listen to soothing music 
Play a video game 
Meditate 
 
Exercise and stretching 
Choose exercise that you’ll enjoy 
Include some aerobic exercise in your program 
Some discomfort with exercises is fine 
Start slowly and be consistent across days 
Don’t do more on good days and less on bad days 
Slowly up the exercise program by first increasing volume before intensity 
Ask your physiotherapist or osteopath to help with developing an exercise program that would be right for you 
 
Our osteopaths and physiotherapists at Woodside Clinic in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard are very happy to advise you, please call us on 01582 608400 or 01525 372 477 for more information or to book an appointment. 
Some useful resources/websites: 
 
• British pain society – people with pain https://www.britishpainsociety.org/people-with-pain/ 
• Explain pain in 5 minutes video  
• Health talk website – from patients to patients, lots of video interviews of patients opinions and experiences of PMP  
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