Professor David Kerr
Kerr Report Scottish Executive 2005
“I had felt bad and confused about my pain – the group sessions were very informative and I would like other people to know that I have felt a positive benefit from attending the Association meetings. Thank you.”
I am happy to give a commitment that the Scottish Government does indeed recognise chronic pain as a long term condition in its own right.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
Pain Association has shown me how to take control of chronic pain using relaxation, breathing, movement, pacing and positive thinking…with support and encouragement I feel that I have a life again.
With new skills and understanding I cope more positively…enabling me to relieve anxiety, tension, stress and anger, so much so that they no longer exist.
In a safe environment I was able to explore my feelings about pain and learnt useful techniques to empower me. I met great new friends removing me from isolation and despair…join your local group and learn real coping strategies – I did.
Evaluation of Pain Support Group
I’ve been attending the Pain Support Group for 4 years; for me it’s been a life changing experience. In the past four years I’ve learned to come to terms with my condition with help and support from the group. I now know that life has positivity and that anything is possible. There is hope instead of painful days full of despair and gloom.
I’m still in pain but I have learned to know my limits and to be honest enough with myself to know when to stop. I know now that if I do push myself I will be ill the next day, but realise now that ‘I have that choice’. My pain doesn’t control me, I control it – and I’m still learning. I can’t say that I’m cured, I’m not, or that some days aren’t impossible, they are.
Some days the pain is so bad that I feel that panic in the pit of my stomach because almost like an abusive partner that never leaves; I know what I’m in for. But even on those lost days, there is support and a strategy to make things easier. Because of the group I have learned to, think more about me and I understand that’s ok now, that I need to say ‘no’ sometimes because being everything to everybody is impossible you just end up ‘empty’ yourself. It’s good to have the permission to do that.
I take less medication because when I have a flare up I stop, I rest and put flare up strategies into place. I don’t push on now and become so ill it takes me days/weeks to recover.I understand more about medication ‘the more you take the more you need’, and the more it goes on it eventually harms your system. I now have stomach problems due to all the medication I’ve taken in the past.
Very gently I’ve come off the cocktail of drugs I was taking years ago.The group has helped me to see where I am now, in relation to where I was a couple of years ago and I have made huge strides forward.I have learned how pain conduction works and how the system can be sensitised. I am more aware of my body and how the pain signals ‘do their thing’ and more importantly how I could wind that system up.I haven’t been to the doctors in months.
I know that very little can be done to ease the pain. I manage my symptoms through self-awareness, some self-management strategies, and coming once a month to the group. I fill my life with different but equally fulfilling activities that I can manage now I don’t work and I get pleasure from these too. I still struggle at times with feelings of inadequacy but again coming on a regular basis helps with those feelings.The group leader helped me to understand that when you experience pain, a whole swathe of emotions and feelings can overwhelm you.
Over the years I’ve come to accept where I am today and to a great extent I don’t feel as desperate and as down..This is an incredibly worthwhile group and I don’t know where I would have been without it; most probably dead by now if truth were known? I was looking for a way to ‘end it all’ when I found the group, or maybe it found me? I nearly didn’t come – groups aren’t my thing. I understand that people outside the group don’t understand pain and that’s ok, how could they know what chronic pain is like?
Coming to the group puts me in touch with people who suffer all types of pain and it’s good for one morning a month to be with others who are like minded. I look forward to it. I need that contact, that understanding, that belonging. All are respected and all are believed; a vital component to feeling accepted and acceptable.
The support group gives me the confidence to hold my head up and move forward on a daily basis with life. The group is interesting. There is lively debate and the facilitator does well to get through what can be at times a challenging session. There are tears sometimes; there is anger at the medical profession on occasion, and there are varying opinions and life experiences; none are wrong, all are listened to.
People from various walks of life attend, some older some younger, men, women, some more verbal than others; all looking for a way to improve their lives -choosing this group as a way to move forward. We all hate pain, it’s a common denominator.This group is the first step up the ladder.