How to be referred to the pain service?

You will need to see your GP who will refer you to Sussex MSK Partnership East.

What happens after you are referred?

Your referral will be reviewed by one of our extended scope practitioners (ESPs) who will clinically assess what the best course of treatment is for you. If you need to be seen by the pain service, one of out Patient Carer Advisors (PCA) will call you to arrange an appointment. If the PCA is unable to contact you by phone they will write to you offering an appointment.

What happens at your first appointment?

Your first appointment will last up to an hour, and will be with one of the pain team clinicians. The aim of this appointment is for us to hear about your needs, goals and concerns, and to start thinking with you about how to address these.

The clinician will ask about different aspects of your life to help him/her understand you and your situation. You can expect to be asked about the pain, medication, and other things like your social and family life, how you are spending your time and what your mood and stress levels are like. At the end of the session, you and the clinician will make a decision together about what the next step will be.

We will pair you with a professional whose skills and experience best meets your needs, based on your first appointment and the information in your referral.

You might want to bring a friend or member of your family to the first session if you feel this would be helpful.

What is a Pain Management Information Session (PMIS)?

A Pain Management Information Session (PMIS) is a group session in which we aim to provide information about persistent pain and an introduction to pain management techniques.

During the session we will talk about:

  • Understanding pain: The differences between persistent pain and short-term pain.
  • The role of pain management in persistent pain.
  • The importance of activity in persistent pain and the effect of “de-conditioning” on the body.
  • Breathing techniques for pain and stress management.
  • How to pace activities and avoid falling into the traps of ‘over’ and ‘under’ doing.
  • Planning how to make changes and set goals in relation to pain management.

The session is three hours long. There is a coffee/rest break half way through and we actively encourage people to change position and move around for comfort during the session.

Do I need to bring anything with me to the Pain Management Information Session (PMIS)?

We will give you hand outs so there is no need for you to take notes during the session. Some information is shown on a projector screen. If you use reading glasses, and/or usually wear glasses to watch television, please bring them with you.  

If you find a cushion or pillow useful for support when you are sitting, or anything else that helps you feel comfortable, please do bring it along.

What is a Pain Management Programme (PMP)?

A Pain Management Programme (PMP) is a comprehensive group approach run by a Psychologist, Physiotherapist and other Health Professionals. PMPs are not aimed at reducing your pain, though this might be one of the outcomes. The groups are aimed at equipping you with strategies for living as full a life as possible with your pain.

We run different PMPs and will decide with you the best programme to suit you.

Some people feel a bit worried about being in a group, but most find any anxieties quickly fade, and most people tell us that being with others who are going through similar difficulties is one of the most beneficial aspects of the PMP.

The 30-hour PMP

The 30 hour PMP runs for 10 half-days (3 hour) sessions, twice a week for 5 weeks. It is run by a psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist.

The 18-hour PMP

The 18 hour PMP runs for 6 half-days (3 hour) sessions, once a week for 6 weeks. It is run by a pain practitioner.