Chronic pain is a common, complex and challenging condition, generally accepted as pain lasting longer than three months and while it is recognised as a condition in its own right, it is also an umbrella term for severe pain occurring from a multitude of clinical conditions. In most instances, the management of chronic pain is on promoting rehabilitation and maximising quality of life rather than achieving a cure.
Recognised as a strategic priority for both the UK and Scottish Government , recent research shows that service provision for the management of chronic pain across the UK remains inadequate. Further to this, the economic burden of chronic pain is known to be significant with costs for medication, medical and medical appointments and investigations contributing to the overall impact. The societal burden of managing chronic pain is expected to increase and new innovative, collaborative approaches to management are required.
The assessment and management of chronic pain is challenging due to the complex factors involved. How pain is described, interpreted and understood varies considerably and is compounded by the contrasting literacies used across health professionals (e.g. consultants, physiotherapists) and people living with chronic pain. The challenges emerging around this interaction are significant and can have a impact on the delivery of care, the ability of people to self-manage and opportunities for both to learn from experience.