Pain Management Programmes (PMPs) is a group treatment that uses education and practice sessions for people with persistent, chronic pain to help them manage their pain and routine activities better.

It is usually recommended when the patient has had all the investigations for the pain done and tried other treatments. It helps to improve the quality of life.

PMP involves talks and practical sessions where patients learn about pain, ways to try control and limit pain, how to exercise safely and build up activity levels.

A number of different techniques within these programmes are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a type of talking therapy that combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do) and focuses on how thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behaviour and aims to teach coping skills to help deal with problems.

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – combines various meditation practices with modified yoga exercises and mind-body education. The idea behind mindfulness is that by being more aware of the present moment, including feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you, it can positively change the way people feel about life and how they approach challenges.

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – encourages people to re-evaluate their relationship with their experiences, including learning to develop a greater division between themselves and their thoughts. These changes are used to help people become more psychologically flexible changing the agenda away from controlling negative experiences and instead helps to focus on setting value-based goals.

Benefits of Pain Management Programme

  • They help people become more independent about managing pain
  • Help in cutting down on drugs which don’t help
  • Understanding better the links between what people think, how they feel emotionally, what they do, and the pain
  • Increased physical fitness and activity levels
  • Eventually helps in improving mood and confidence

PMPs vary in duration and the team offering the programme. Some are 2-4-week residential programmes while others are based in hospital outpatient departments, or community settings, and continue for several weeks. Programmes are run by pain specialists including psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses, doctors and sometimes occupational therapists and pharmacists.