Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain also called “persistent pain,” lasts longer than it should after an illness or injury has healed, usually after three months. Chronic pain can happen to anyone, and it can affect any part of the body. Accidents or injuries can cause many health conditions, like arthritis. However, people can also have chronic pain when they don’t have a clear illness, injury, or health condition. This doesn’t mean that chronic pain isn’t real, but it does show that it can be a very complex problem.  

Chronic pain is linked to health inequalities in the UK. It is more common among older adults, women, people who live in poor areas, and people of black ethnicity.  


Chronic pain is an important health issue

Chronic pain is a highly individual experience. People react to living with pain in many different ways. People with chronic pain can have difficulties carrying out daily activities, including work, leisure, and exercise. This can be very distressing; people often describe feeling low and anxious.  

  • In Lambeth, pain is the second-most-common long-term condition amongst residents, affecting 13% of the population. 
  • Black people are almost twice as likely to supper from chronic pain as White or Asian people. 
  • Females are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from chronic pain than males.
  • People living in deprived areas are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. 
  • The prevalence rate among black women in Lambeth was twice that of the general population in Lambeth.

Our key areas of focus around chronic pain

  1. Address chronic pain in Lambeth’s long-term condition programme management, developing the data around chronic pain and reviewing the referral patterns from secondary care. With this, we have developed and continue to enhance our pain register in primary care 
  2. Reduce inequality by understanding and levelling up the experiences of pain for communities, highlighted above, with the greatest prevalence of chronic pain, and create a patient advisory group to coproduce culturally appropriate  interventions.
  3. Refresh the chronic pain referral pathway to include implementation of the NICE guidelines and promoting the roles of workers such as social prescribers in chronic pain management.
  4. Promoting community programmes for chronic pain management, such as Empowered Relief, PEACS, GetUBetter/Leva online pain management resources, and community support groups, to enhance self-management and self-efficacy whilst also reducing demand within secondary care.

 Let us help you manage chronic pain

  • We recommend you visit your GP to ensure they know you have chronic pain and add you to the chronic pain register. 
  •  Your GP can discuss and agree on a personalised plan to manage your pain and flare-ups. This plan could include exercises, education, support groups, and medication reviews. 
  •  Your GP will want to review this with you annually to ensure you get the help you need. 

Patient Advisory Group

The Neighbourhood and Wellbeing Delivery Alliance has set up a Patient Advisory Group for our Chronic Pain Project. This group of diverse individuals will enable us to learn about their experiences of living with chronic pain, attend and provide input into our quarterly chronic pain workstream meetings, and engage in genuine collaboration on all matters related to chronic pain, including reviewing our online and offline resources and refreshing our pathway. 


Further information around chronic pain

To find out more about how you could work with us, visit our  get involved with the NWDA.

Alternatively, to find out more about chronic pain, please visit the following resources.

Living Well with Pain (Ten Footsteps)

Versus Arthritis

Sickle Cell Society