Management of chronic pain

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network


  • A concise history, examination and biopsychosocial assessment, identifying pain type (neuropathic/nociceptive/mixed), severity, functional impact and context should be conducted in all patients with chronic pain. This will inform the selection of treatment options most likely to be effective
  • Referral should be considered when non-specialist management is failing, chronic pain is poorly controlled, there is significant distress, and/or where specific specialist intervention or assessment is considered
  • A compassionate, patient-centred approach to assessment and management of chronic pain is likely to optimise the therapeutic environment and improve the chances of successful outcome

Supported self management

  • Self management resources should be considered to complement other therapies in the treatment of patients with chronic pain
  • Healthcare professionals should signpost patients to self help resources, identified and recommended by local pain services, as a useful aide at any point throughout the patient journey. Self management may be used from an early stage of a pain condition through to use as part of a long term management strategy

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