Whatever the nature of your chronic pain condition, early treatment from the best providers is imperative.
We work with the leading treatment providers nationally and our immediate focus in every case is helping clients to identify and undergo treatment that may have so far proved elusive. That is what we mean by our treatment-focused approach. We have enjoyed phenomenal success in putting funding in place for often expensive treatment.
There is a wide spectrum of treatment and therapy available for chronic pain, ranging from the totally non-invasive to the highly invasive.
Depending upon your condition, treatment will often begin with medication and/or physical therapy such as physiotherapy.
“Thank you so much for everything. I couldn’t have hoped for a nicer, kinder and more understanding solicitor. Your confidence is infectious!” JW (£322,000 received), March 2018
Sadly, medication is effective in less than two thirds of sufferers.
Most people suffering chronic pain take multiple medications and achieving the right balance of medication – finding what works for you – can often prove difficult.
Broadly speaking the stronger the analgesic effect of the medication, the greater effect it will have cognitively upon the individual and therefore the more difficult it will become to function on a daily basis. The pain may be less but tiredness, lack of concentration, poor memory and reaction time, may be the price to pay.
Doctors will often prescribe drugs such as Tramadol, an opioid. A client recently told us that she does not feel safe to drive for several hours after taking Tramadol. She has managed to continue working, but has to commute by car. She therefore avoids taking Tramadol until she arrives at work, whereupon she takes a low dose “to take the edge off”. By the afternoon, the effect of the Tramadol is wearing off, but she cannot take another until she arrives back home.
Drugs may be prescribed in groups so as to maximise the painkilling effect. Tramadol is often prescribed in conjunction with Amitriptyline (or Nortriptyline), which is an anti-depressant often prescribed to chronic pain sufferers as it has been found to be helpful for nerve pain. One side effect, or as some clients have described it “a side benefit”, of Amitriptyline is that it also aids sleep.
Some chronic pain sufferers are prescribed Buprenorphine (which is similar to Morphine) or Fentanyl as skin patches, or even Morphine itself, usually as Oramorph solution.
The next ‘step up’ are anticonvulsant drugs such as Pregabalin and Gabapentin. Whilst these ‘controlled drugs’ are used to treat epilepsy, they are also prescribed for serious neuropathic pain. However, clients often report to us major cognitive side effects. One described feeling “like a zombie. I was no use to anyone.”
Injections and Denervation
More invasive treatments often start with injections of local anaesthetic and steroid, sometimes under x-ray guidance. This is not curative, but if it does ‘work’, it can offer a few weeks of reduced levels of pain, during which time sufferers may derive further benefit through forms of manipulative therapy such as physiotherapy, which were previously impossible because of the level of pain. Once the effect of the local anaesthetic and steroid has worn off, it is hoped that the level of pain will be less than before.
Denervation, which takes place under x-ray guidance, damages specific nerves so as to interrupt their ability to send pain signals to the brain. This can be used as a diagnostic tool (ie to establish which nerves are responsible for the pain), but is not curative as the nerves will eventually repair themselves. However, if denervation ‘works’, it can provide several months of pain relief which, for some people, can help to break the long-term cycle of pain.
“Clare Lowes at BLB Solicitors was my solicitor after I changed from [my previous solicitor]. I can testify that the difference was immediately noticeable. Clare was a whirlwind of activity unlike [my last solicitors]. When you’re in pain 24/7 you have to rely so much on other people and I quickly learnt that I could rely on and trust Clare.” VY (£310,000 received), April 2018
Pain Management Programmes
The idea behind pain management is to turn existing with chronic pain into living with chronic pain.
There is no one universal approach offered by pain management programmes, who instead have at their disposal a wide range of treatments and multi-disciplinary support, which to a certain degree they can use to tailor therapy to the individual. Whilst a programme will usually be coordinated by a consultant in pain medicine, the patient will also receive input from physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.
As they cannot ‘cure’ the patient’s pain, the role of the pain clinic is best summarised as supporting a patient in developing self-help skills to control and relieve their pain. It is hoped that through these coping strategies, the patient will experience an overall improvement in their quality of life.
Most large hospitals run pain management programmes. In addition to the more common outpatient approach, a few centres are equipped to offer inpatient programmes. The advantage of inpatient pain management is that for a limited period, usually between two and four weeks, both the patient and the multi-disciplinary team are focused entirely on working together to develop coping strategies. This is often more difficult and therefore less successful when attending as an outpatient once a week over the course of a number of weeks or months.
BLB Solicitors have been hugely successful in arranging funding for clients to attend these residential programmes. However, we are also conscious of the potential for ‘crash and burn‘ following attendance on such a programme.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
The procedure is invasive, as it involves the insertion of electrodes close to the spinal cord. These are connected to a battery powered device which is implanted under the skin and controlled externally by remote control. These devices delivers electronic signals which, it is hoped, will interrupt the pain signals to the brain.
Many of our clients have undergone the procedure. Whilst all have reported a reduction in levels of pain, the degree of pain relief experienced has varied considerably.
Some sufferers find alternative therapies effective for short term relief of their symptoms, particularly therapies aimed at relaxation. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture and gentle, low-impact exercise are particular popular. However, people suffering CRPS should be wary of those seeking to take advantage of their desperation.
“I was represented by Bruce Dyer who is absolutely excellent. It’s so reassuring when you finally find a solicitor who understands CRPS. A fantastic experience. Highly recommended.” RW (£285,000 received), November 2017
The large number of people suffering chronic pain means that there is a lot of ongoing research into new forms of treatment, good current examples being those for Neridronate and sensorimotor training.
Whilst medical trials are outside of the scope of their claims, several of our clients have been selected to take part in medical trials, sometimes with encouraging results.
Why do you need a specialist Chronic Pain Solicitor?
Over many years, we have worked with hundreds of clients suffering a variety of chronic pain conditions, including:
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome;
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS);
- Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD);
- Neuropathic Pain;
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME).
Accordingly, not only do we have an unrivalled understanding of chronic pain, but also excellent working relationships with many of the country’s leading medical experts. As Chronic Pain Syndrome Solicitors, this is knowledge and expertise we use daily for our clients’ benefit.
We understand the fundamental importance of seeking early specialist treatment and are regularly able to arrange funding for the complete range of treatment options – for details see the individual conditions listed above.
In summary, what you can expect when you instruct us is:
- access to the leading experts in chronic pain to get you the specialist medical help you so desperately need;
- regular requests for early interim payments to fund the cost of treatment and rehabilitation as recommended by the medical experts;
- consideration as to whether you would benefit from a medically qualified case manager to co-ordinate your treatment, rehabilitation, purchase of specialist equipment and adaptations to your home.
“Andrew, I feel so lucky to have found you. What a difference you made! Let’s face it, with [previous solicitors] the claim was heading for the rocks. Thank you so much.” TR (£265,000 received), October 2018
What will happen when you call us?
For a free, confidential discussion, contact us either using the form at the bottom of this page, or call us on 01225 462871.
One of our specialist Chronic Pain Syndrome solicitors will be waiting to speak with you. They will be able to talk through your situation and make a realistic assessment of how we can maximise your compensation and, crucially, help you to obtain the early, specialist treatment you need.
For information on chronic pain, including the latest on research and treatment, please also keep an eye on our informative and regularly updated Blog.