I’ve warned you off potentially bad chronic pain management programs and asked you to join a project improving a widely used program in North America. But if you’re looking for help right now, that isn’t very useful.
So, here are a couple resources for the here and now:
- Not all official chronic pain/illness management programs are bad. The Walton Centre Pain Management Programme gets a stellar review from a commenter here:
I recently had a pain management course in Liverpool (the Walton Clinic PMP) which was amazing and changed my life. Good courses exist – despite them being generic to chronic pain rather than for specific conditions. Just an example of two differences from the one I attended – weekly targets were not to be about things we learnt about on the course because they wanted us to try our best to do those things anyway (at the level that we could). They had to be about something else in our lives – like work or family or socialising. They also deferred to our knowledge. Every session was a discussion and the people contributing most were the pain sufferers, we have the most experience! Of course they were directed by the practitioners, and they imparted us with so many tools and so much knowledge about how chronic pain works but they also facilitated discussion and gave us the opportunity to share our experiences, advice and outlooks. They gave us some individual advice too – like physio exercises for problem areas. The course has been running a very long time, the practitioners are experienced and specialised and it’s generally a well organised programme.
- The Professional Patient is writing a Guidebook for Navigating New Chronic Illness or Disability. So far they have five posts up. I hope when they’re done they bundle them up into anebook and sell it because it is exceptional advice presented clearly, helpfully, sympathetically.
- How to Be Sick by Toni Bernhard does an incredible job addressing grief, anger, and jealousy and how to cope with those feelings. There’s also a lot of good discussion of the lived experience of being in pain, the emotional effects, and how moderate your mental and emotional experience of pain. It never veers into blaming language.
Please add your own resources in the comments.