Pain can be defined as a highly unpleasant, individualized experience of one of the body’s defense mechanisms indicating an injury or problem. Pain management encompasses all interventions used to understand and ease pain, and, if possible, to alleviate the cause of the pain.
The pain service at the Trust is responsible for and oversees the management of acute and chronic pain across both sites of the Trust. The service is multi-disciplinary and includes consultant physicians, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, a doctorate research student, as well as support from administrative and managerial staff.
Modern pain management is informed by the belief that pain is a result of the complex interactions between injury, disease, physiology, psychology and the environment.
Patients attending the chronic pain clinic have typically suffered for some considerable time and as a team we strive to achieve an individual assessment and management approach, which encompasses varied presentations, beliefs and expectations.
Patients scheduled for planned surgery can expect to be given information about post-operative pain management on their visit to the pre-assessment clinic. Patients having major surgery or requiring complex techniques of post-operative pain management can also expect to be seen by one of the pain nurses before and after their operation.
Inpatients with difficult to manage pain problems can also be referred to the pain service for advice and help with pain management. Every clinical area has an inpatient referral pathway to facilitate this.
Patients with chronic pain are usually referred to the pain service by their GPs or the hospital consultant looking after them. Chronic pain service activity is currently concentrated at Solihull hospital although the pain nurses and consultants are able to see referred patients who are inpatients at Heartlands hospital.
Outpatient clinics are held in Solihull every week. New patients may spend 30 minutes with a Consultant and can expect to see other members of the multi-disciplinary team including a Physiotherapist, Nurse, or Clinical Psychologist. A detailed history is taken complementing a physical examination and an explanation of the patient’s symptoms is given.
The treatment plan can include elements of medication, surgical interventional treatment, physiotherapy, access to transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), psychological assessment and individual or group cognitive behaviour therapy or referral on for acupuncture.
Theatre sessions are held every week. A variety of procedures are carried out including local anaesthesia blocks, epidural injections, facet joint injections, radio-frequency denervation, neuromodulation techniques, sympathetic and coeliac plexus blocks and minor interventions. The clinic regularly uses radiological guidance to facilitate these procedures.
Those patients who agree they have exhausted medical approaches and are looking to improve their fitness, increase their understanding of pain approaches and develop self-help skills for future challenges are referred to the pain management group. This 8-week course is run off site at a local leisure centre.
If you have any questions or concerns about your appointment at the pain management clinic please contact: The Pain Team on 0121 424 4329/ 424 4616 / 424 5057.
Or if you wish to cancel/change an appointment please contact 0121 424 1234.
The pain service plays a major part in training and education in pain management as well as participating in clinical and basic science audit and research.
The pain service works in close association with palliative care services and the directorate of anaesthetics. Patients have been referred to specialists in other local hospitals for particular treatments including neurostimulation analgesia.