Patients with chronic pain syndromes present a particular challenge to GPs, A&E departments – indeed all doctors and nurses working with patients. Chronic Pain syndromes are common and may even have no medical explanation.
Clinicians face a challenge as the initial search for cure gives way to a focus on living WITH the pain, and the long-term need for reframing the goals of treatment so as to focus on quality-of-life.
Helping patients makes for challenging conversations. If successful, we can help patients to be realistic, to realise their potential and minimise their pain.
If we are not successful, patients can easily become bitter and hostile. They may suffer un-necessary and unhelpful visits to specialists and they may waste their lives in a futile pursuit of cure.
How can we do better? Helping patients to re-focus may be tricky, but this is what doctors and nurses do in other situations.