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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
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Information for patients

What is chronic pain?

Put simply, chronic pain is any pain that has lasted for three months or longer.

Ongoing pain is not uncommon, but in some cases can cause restrictions to activity which persists beyond the expected recovery time and last for many months or years.

Some people manage to maintain their activities but others find that over time, they become less active and that their lifestyle has changed. Often patients report that they have tried many treatments and consulted many specialists but their pain is ongoing. Others explain that changes in lifestyle, such as loss of a job have led to stress and depression.

Unfortunately, medicine does not have a cure for chronic pain, however, we see approximately 600 patients a year and the majority improve their level of physical ability and how they feel about the pain.

What is pain rehabilitation?

A treatment designed to reduce the impact of pain on the person's life through exploring ways of living well with pain and increasing activity.

Pain rehabilitation uses strategies such as:

  • activity management
  • education
  • goal setting (working towards a valued activity)
  • graded exercise/activity
  • stretching
  • practical techniques to help to improve quality of life and function
  • psychological approaches.

Psychological approaches are used, since many patients have found that their mood has been affected or that they have started to be fearful of certain activities in case this provokes pain.

Graded exercises and activities are taught to help patients gradually build up functional levels, and at the same time help patients to develop confidence in their own ability, despite the pain. Emphasis is on patients becoming experts in the management of their condition.

Will I be able to attend if I don't live in Oxfordshire?

Yes. Patients need to travel in by themselves for the once a week programme. There is bed and breakfast accommodation for patients attending the three week programmes who live outside Oxfordshire. Patients would need to be able to get to the hospital independently from the bed and breakfast accommodation.

Useful information

Please click on the link below to view other sources (publications and CDs) which may be helpful.