There’s a lot of it about-chronic pain and the use of opiates

If you know me, or know of me then you may be aware that I live with chronic pain.  Almost 10 years ago non-specific lower back pain started, and a year ago pain from my elbows down into my fingers started.


Chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, and I believe that this is because pain killer medication needs to be used with other therapies such as psychological support, and encouragement to move for example in a co-ordinated approach.  Pain killers will never on their own relieve pain.


“Pain is also seen as being a symptom rather than as a disease in its own right that may be independent of the condition that it arose from”, says Martin Johnson, Chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, lead for pain at the Royal College of General Practitioners, and Vice President of the British Pain Society.

The number of community prescriptions for opiates has risen from 3,040,000 in 1991 to 23,900,000 in 2016.  Some of this rise is being attributed to the withdrawal

of some other medications which therefore leaves doctors with a more limited choice of alternatives.  However, Anthony Chuter (chair of Pain UK and the British Pain Society’s patient liaison group) says that although opioid prescribing has risen, the UK did not have anything like the problem of recreational miss use of opioids sweeping the United States. Chuter goes on to say that although opioids are not effective for managing long-term pain in most people, they do have a role in some patients and their use needs to be reviewed regularly.


Living with persistent pain is unpleasant and difficult.  I believe a multidisciplinary approach which includes psychological support is necessary to enable us to live our lives as independently and as fully as possible.