Chronic pain, also known as persistent pain, is diagnosed when pain persists for more than three months. Approximately 1 in 5 persons suffer from some form of chronic pain and the incidence is increasing following the COVID pandemic. 

Chronic pain is a very complex phenomenon made up of biological, psychological and social components. Since it does not reflect tissue injury, it can become a severe burden for patients and their carers. Because of the complexity of this condition, a multidisciplinary approach is advisable to help patients manage their symptoms in the best possible way.

There is no magic pill or drug that will help patients suffering from chronic pain. Patients need to understand where the pain is coming from and to accept that the condition is not curable. They need to be offered all the tools and treatment modalities that can help them manage their symptoms and then advised on self-management. A team of professionals working together can provide the patient with all the resources needed to manage their symptoms in the best way possible. At The Pain Clinic, the doctor usually provides a treatment plan during the first consultation and patients are advised on the various professionals and therapeutic options that can help them relieve their symptoms in the most effective way possible. 

The Consultation

A 1-hour slot is allocated for patients presenting for the first time with a chronic pain condition. The patient will be asked about the symptoms experienced and if a diagnosis has already been established.

The doctor will ask about medications tried in the past and about any therapy sessions that the patient may have attended. The patient’s history is explored, focusing on possible triggers and aggravating factors. Throughout the meeting, the patient’s symptoms and concerns are addressed, ensuring that everything is understood clearly.

After the interview, the doctor may need to examine you to understand better the severity of the pain, the areas most badly affected and whether there are any signs that need further investigation. At this point, the doctor would be able to provide the most probable diagnosis and discuss the necessary steps needed to manage the symptoms. Further investigations may be necessary in some cases and the doctor can guide you on how to have these carried out at Mater Dei Hospital or in a private hospital.

The doctor would then compile a medical report with a treatment plan for the patient. This often includes some lifestyle changes which can help reduce the pain and optimize the response to treatment. Nutritional supplements are recommended when necessary and various medication options are discussed.  The patient is then called back after 2 weeks for a 15-minute follow-up to discuss any progress and get the first prescription. During this meeting, any supplements and equipment can be purchased if necessary and a follow-up appointment is given for a month’s time. The doctor will give the patient a mobile number and email to contact should they have any problems administering the medicine.