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100th meeting milestone as 800 people have been helped to have their pain managed

28 April 2015

Health Care

The chronic pain service at Southend Hospital has celebrated its 100th pain management programme, which uses meditation and exercise as well as learning more about the science of pain and strategies to improve quality of life, such as better sleep, healthy eating, managing stress and pursuing goals.

Participants attend every Monday and Wednesday for eight sessions over as four week period. It's run by Mary-Anne Therrien, a specialist physiotherapist, and Tricia Rose, a counselling psychologist, who have both been a part of the programme since it began in 1999.

During the last 16 years the programme has seen over 800 patients, the youngest attendee has been a 17 year old and the oldest has been a patient in their 80s.  One in five adults in the UK have a chronic pain condition but many manage this themselves in the community.  The group see those who need more support to learn to manage the pain.

Mary-Anne said: "Patients who attend the pain management programme have been put forward by other members of the chronic pain team because they have chronic pain, that won't be helped by any further medical management and this has significant impact on their quality of life. Chronic pain is pain persisting for over three months which has not responded to usual treatment and which may not have a specific cause.

Participants accept that the pain is not going to be cured and they are willing to learn to manage it differently and are open to new ideas.  Patients who attend have a wide range of pain conditions."

Two former members, who completed the programme three years ago, have become an integral part of the programme as they come along to each new group, helping to put new attendees at ease.

Barry Mears, 65, from Leigh, said: "We got so much out this and wanted to give something back, helping people over their 'first day nerves'. It's been a massive benefit to me and although it doesn't cure pain it really help mentally against what problems you have and makes life easier as a result."

Carl Strange, 47, from Canvey, added: "Before I first came I said to my wife that I don't expect to get much out of it, but the programme has really changed my view and it has really taught me how to relax."

New attendee, Joanne Brown, 39, from Westcliff, was certainly thankful for Barry and Carl's soothing effect. She concluded: "They've made me far more positive about attending knowing what positives someone else has got out of the sessions."