Chronic Pain

Chronic pain (sometimes known as long-term pain or persistent pain) is pain that lasts for more than 3 months. Pain can be secondary to (caused by) an underlying condition (for example, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, endometriosis). Chronic pain can also be primary. Chronic primary pain has no clear underlying condition or the pain (or its impact) appears to be out of proportion to any observable injury or disease.  The mechanisms underlying chronic primary pain are only partially understood and the definitions are fairly new. All forms of pain can cause distress and disability, but these features are particularly prominent in presentations of chronic primary pain.  Unfortunately painkillers don’t work well for chronic non-cancer pain and can lead to considerable side effects, tolerance and addiction.

Please book an appointment with a GP to discuss further if you are struggling with chronic pain. 

So what can we offer to patients with chronic non-cancer pain?

Education about managing chronic pain for patients or their carers;

Understanding what pain is and how it can be managed better is key.  Have a look at the following resources;

Self management skills – Live Well with Pain

Ten Footsteps programme – Live Well with Pain

CBT or Counselling can be really helpful for managing negative thoughts associated with pain or any mental health problems

You can self-refer to NHS talking therapies at Home – Talking Changes or by calling 0191 333 3300

Support from one of our Social Prescribing Team

Our social prescribing team can support you through the challenges of living with pain and advise regarding local services and support groups.  Call reception and have a look at our website at Social Prescribing – Claypath and University Medical Group (

Referral to the Community Pain Service

Your GP may refer you to our local Community Pain Service – their website is Durham – Connect Health

Exercise Guidance and Support

Keeping up exercise is really important for general health and for tackling chronic pain.   The following website has useful guides to exercising for a variety of conditions –  Patient info finder – Moving Medicine

You can also self-refer to local NHS physio therapy services here: County Durham and Darlington – Self Referral to Physiotherapy (

Improving Sleep

Doing everything you can to improve sleep quality can be helpful.  Sleeping tablets are not usually advised but there are a number of things that can help improve sleep; see Insomnia – NHS (

Other useful resources;

Home – Live Well With Pain

Understanding Pain – Flippin’ Pain (

PAINKILLERS DON’T EXIST ( | | Painkiller talk

Last modified: July 3, 2023