Specialist chronic pain solicitor, Andrew Atkinson, explains what is meant by multidisciplinary pain management. Speak informally to Andrew on 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can email him, or complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
What is a multidisciplinary approach?
If you suffer from persistent pain, there’s a reasonable chance you will eventually be referred to a multidisciplinary pain management team. Their goal will be to lessen the impact of pain on your life, thereby reducing the level of your disability. The bringing together of a group of professionals, each with a different skill set, represents the need to treat a variety of factors contributing to your pain – physical, psychological, social, and occupational.
Multidisciplinary team roles and responsibilities
A pain doctor, a psychologist, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist are at the core of a multidisciplinary pain management team. However, as the approach is person-specific, input from others is often required, for example, a specialist pain nurse practitioner, a psychiatrist, a pharmacist, or even a social worker. And for a child with persistent pain, the team will likely include a paediatrician.
On referral, you will undergo a physical and psychological assessment before the team meet to agree upon a suitable treatment plan. Although treatment can include medication and other forms of medical intervention, in most cases, the approach is non-invasive and non-pharmacological, with a heavy emphasis on physical and psychological therapies and coping strategies.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Many multidisciplinary pain management programmes follow an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) model. ACT has developed from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but while CBT focuses on challenging negative thoughts with the goal of making them more positive, ACT is all about accepting those negative thoughts and understanding that it’s ok to have them.
If you live with chronic pain, it’s only natural to try to avoid anything that may increase your symptoms. But while that’s a perfectly valid coping strategy, it can also be detrimental. Avoiding certain activities or situations perpetuates your fear and conditions you to avoid them in the future, effectively training your brain to think you cannot do certain things. ACT uses acceptance-oriented strategies to help you set and meet specific goals aimed at improving your functioning and overall quality of life.
Residential pain management programmes UK
The vast majority of pain management programmes in the UK run on an outpatient basis. However, a few residential programmes are available, both NHS and private. Over the years, many of our clients have benefited from attending a residential pain management programme with the intense burst of therapy they offer. But we also understand the need to have arrangements in place to support a client on their discharge from such a programme. See our earlier article on avoiding the ‘crash and burn’ factor’.
Is your current solicitor helping you access the best and most appropriate treatment and therapies for your condition? If not, why not speak informally to one of our specialist chronic pain solicitors to find out if we can help? Call us now on 01225 462871.