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Supporting those living with chronic pain to reclaim their lives

How can we better help people living with chronic pain through community interventions? 

The RSM Pain Medicine Section’s next meeting will look at how modern models of understanding chronic pain within a social context is leading to innovative ways where people living with pain can be supported within their communities, alleviating the restrictions and limitations their symptoms may have imposed on them.  

The meeting will also examine the influence of the social, political and policy environment in which we live and work, and how this influences the effectiveness of social interventions for people affected by chronic pain. 

Meeting organiser and Past President of the section, Dr Rebecca Berman has been a consultant in pain medicine for almost three decades.  

“The specialty of pain medicine has been facing an enormous crisis that is epitomised by the opioid epidemic, most evident in the United States but evidenced across and beyond the western world and certainly impacting the UK. There are many factors that have driven this but certainly a major one has been the reliance in some quarters on a pure biomedical model of pain medicine. 

“As well as providing insights into understanding the epidemiology of chronic pain and its impacts on communities, at the meeting we’ll present models of understanding chronic pain that are directly relevant to clinical practice, along with some wonderful examples of new practice presented by both clinical staff and people living with chronic pain. Our speakers will put this into the context of current and possible future NHS policies to give participants practical ideas for their implementation. 

“Deprescribing can be quite a negative term, but the profession has been very reliant on prescribing; and we’re starting to realise the importance of good community and social support and what that looks like. In pain medicine people often talk about self-management. That’s fine, but no one’s an island. It’s not about self-management. It’s about the way we support each other in a community. So I think it’s more about community and peer support management. 

“I want to show that investing in the right community systems and peer support, giving people agency to improve their lives and live well, really makes a difference.” 

Social connection, pain and society is on Wednesday 15 May from 9:15am to 5:00pm, online. 

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