Managing chronic pain

Earlier this month BBC news published the results of an exclusive survey of over 4,000 adults aged 16-75, which suggests that 1 in 4 people in the UK are living with some form of chronic pain.

The survey, carried out by research company Ipsos, also indicated that 24% of those with chronic pain are being prescribed opiod painkillers, and 23% are on waiting lists for surgery or pain management programmes.

Versus Arthritis, who worked with the BBC on the survey, has called for a rethink on how those with chronic pain are supported so that “anyone in the UK living with pain [has] access to the support they need, alongside medical treatments where appropriate so it no longer drives people into disability”.

So what is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is categorised by NICE as any persistant pain lasting for 3 months or more. Sometimes there is no clear cause for the pain (primary chronic pain) but often it is caused by an underlying condition (secondary chronic pain) such as arthritis, osteoarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. Around 10 million people in the UK are thought to have a form of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common.

Living with chronic pain can have a huge impact on quality of life, potentially limiting physical activity and the performance of day-to-day tasks as well as affecting sleep, engagement in wider society and having a negative impact on mental health.

How can chronic pain be managed?

While many do get benefits from pain medication there is a lot more we can do to manage the causes and impact of chronic pain, including physical exercise, manual therapy, psychological therapies and support networks.

Osteopathy can be part of the picture in helping people with arthritic pain and joint pain. 

How can osteopathy help me? 

After discussing your situation with you, including asking you lots of questions about your health, medical history and how your chronic pain is affecting you, as well as any worries you may have about it, we’ll examine you and establish how we may be able to help you.

Osteopathy is well known for its hands-on element and this will be part of your treatment if it’s felt this would be helpful. Osteopathy can also help you to better understand how to help yourself, what things you can do that might ease your discomfort, such as adapting some of your day to day activities (even if this is temporarily), as well as different exercises and stretches. 

Is the worrying getting you down? 

One important reason to seek help from a healthcare professional is to better understand your situation and take positive steps, and this in itself can help reduce the worry and the burden. Osteopaths like other healthcare professionals don’t have magic wands to make everything instantly better (we wish!) but we can help you in taking positive steps in your own health and wellbeing. 

And remember that part of the reason that we take a full medical history from you, is so that we can make the best decisions about your care. If we think that you should be referred to your GP for further investigations or another form of treatment/support, then we’ll discuss that with you. 

The vast majority of the patients who attend the UCO are able to receive hands on treatment and advice about their situation. So if you are concerned about any aches or pains you have and would like to take some positive steps, please get in touch with our reception team who can organise an appointment at the UCO clinic.  

Why should I book into the UCO clinic? 

At the UCO clinic, we pride ourselves on offering high quality, low cost access to osteopathy through our teaching clinic. Appointments are delivered by senoir students of the University College of Osteopathy (usually in their third, fourth or fifth year of study, depending on their course) and are supervised by our qualified and experienced osteopaths, ensuring that you receive safe and high-quality care.

We also offer evening and weekend appointments with fully-qualified osteopaths through our Associate clinic. Please contact our lovely reception team on 020 7089 5360 to discuss what might work best for you or any questions that you may have.