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Information for patients

Persistent pain

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

Ongoing pain is not uncommon, but in some cases it can cause restrictions to activity which persist beyond the expected recovery time, and can 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 1,000 patients a year and the majority improve their level of physical ability and how they feel about the pain.

Pain rehabilitation

Pain rehabilitation is 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.

Pain rehabilitation programmes

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.



Understanding Pain in less than 5 minutes, and what to do about it! - Live Active

Struggling to be me with chronic pain - NIHRtv
People describe the experience of living with pain in their own words

TEDx Adelaide Lorimer Moseley: Why Things Hurt - Lee Campbell
Informative and entertaining presentation by Lorimer Moseley

Treating Pain Using the Brain - David Butler - Musculoskeletal Australia
Koadlow Public Lecture 2015

Other videos

Exercise videos for people with chronic pain

Let's Move with Leon - Versus Arthritis


Last reviewed:23 November 2023