A pain specialist works closely with other specialists to ensure the appropriate management of pain in people with chronic forms of MS. It must be emphasised that the majority of persons affected by MS may never have a need to see a pain specialist and that the chronic form of MS applies only to less than 20 per cent of those with a diagnosis of MS.
Pain associated with MS can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and manage and is often resistant to the treatment that is practiced commonly. As a result, specialist advice and intervention by a pain specialist is needed.
In general, it is the person with more intractable (stubborn) pain who is managed by a pain specialist. As with all chronic pain syndromes, the pain specialist has a major role to play in the multi-professional management of the person with MS and their long-term care.
A Pain Management Program (PMP) is a psychologically-based rehabilitative treatment for people with persistent pain. It is delivered in a group setting by an interdisciplinary team of experienced health care professionals working closely with patients. Some Pain Centres may run Pain Management Programs that aim to teach a group of patients with similar problems about pain, how best to cope with it and how to live a more active life.
For the majority of people, attending a Pain Management Program reduces the disability and distress caused by persistent pain by teaching physical, psychological and practical techniques to improve quality of life. It differs from other treatments provided in Pain Clinics in that pain relief is not the primary goal, although improvements in pain following participation in a Pain Management Program have been demonstrated.
Referral to a Pain Management Programme is usually through your general practitioner to your local pain clinic.
There are public pain management programmes in:
- St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin
- The Adelaide and Meath Hospital (Tallaght), Dublin
- The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin
- Mercy University Hospital, Cork
In addition, St James Hospital, Dublin offer mindfulness meditation. In Galway, the Galway University Hospital is also developing an online pain management program to allow access by patients in all regions of the country.
Useful Links and Resources
Chronic Pain Ireland: Information on Pain Management Programmes has been taken from the website of Chronic Pain Ireland. Their website includes lots more information on pain management including information on self-management and information on upcoming meetings and events
MS Society UK: Information on how healthcare professionals treat and manage pain in MS.