Pain can be a sign from our body telling us that something is wrong. But there are different types of pain and we can often still suffer even after the source problem has been treated.
This can become a debilitating cycle, because pain can stop us leading normal, active lives and – if left untreated – can also lead to psychological symptoms.
We take an integrated approach to pain management and our specialists work closely with physiotherapists, psychologists, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons, to develop an effective treatment plan personally tailored to your needs.
There are various types of pain that can feel different depending on the part of the body they affect. The way each of us reacts to pain is also variable - some people may experience no pain from a condition that causes severe pain in another person.
Some common pain conditions are:
There are two main types of pain:
This is usually caused by something easily identifiable, such as an injury. Because it indicates an underlying problem, treating the problem will usually relieve the pain.
Anything that lasts three months or more is regarded as chronic, and this type of pain often recurs even after the underlying cause has been treated.
Experiencing pain for a long time can lead to lack of sleep, a weakened immune system and a reduction in physical and social activity. All of these things can, in turn, lead to anxiety and depression.
These symptoms create a vicious cycle, in which pain becomes the centre of your life. It is very important to get treatment that can reverse some of these symptoms and get you back on the road to recovery.
If you suffer from chronic pain a range of specialists will probably treat you. You’ll be cared for by an experienced multi-disciplinary team who understands what you’re feeling and are dedicated to your well being.
Our pain specialists are experts in managing a wide range of problems. They are fully accredited and are all fellows of the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Royal College of Anaesthetists. They will also have many years of experience dealing with a wide range of conditions.
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Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having treatment can be a time of worry and anxiety. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.
Your treatment will depend on your diagnosis. Acute pain that is caused by an injury or underlying condition may require surgery. Chronic pain is likely to require a more holistic, long-term approach.
Your treatment may include:
There are a wide range of injection therapies available specific to individual complaints; you will be offered these as appropriate. The benefits and potential risks will be fully discussed with you when you are considering your treatment choices.
The simplest of these is a TENS machine; however more sophisticated stimulation devices such as implanted spinal cord stimulators, for people with severe and localised nerve pain, are also available. These techniques may be particularly helpful for spinal pain, pain due to nerve damage, abdominal or pelvic pain and pain due to poor circulation.
Drugs are mostly given by mouth. Occasionally they are given via patches (the drug is absorbed through the skin). In special situations, sometimes in those with cancer, a pump can be implanted into the body to place drugs into the spinal fluid.
Pain specialists work in close conjunction with physiotherapists and psychologists. Some patients will also benefit from complementary approaches such as acupuncture and massage.
Your friends and family will be able to visit pretty much anytime you want – we have flexible visiting hours.
We’re with you every step of the way through your recovery, even after you’ve left hospital. Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing.
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Harpenden Hospital.