Guardian features Chronic Pain
Date: 04th July 2021 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
The Guardian newspaper in the UK has been running a series of articles this week on chronic pain.
Firstly, it is great that chronic pain is reaching the mainstream newspapers and NOT just being discussed on pain specialist forums.
This article discusses “nociplastic pain”, a relative new term which helps explain how our current knowledge of pain physiology can be used to understand the widespread and at times bizarre painful symptoms which many sufferers report.
Previously, many of these patients were dismissed as having psychological issues. Unpleasant phrases such as “off their heads” and “barking” were often pointed in their direction leading to self-doubt and the individual feeling diminished.
Nociplastic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia have now been recognised by World Health Organisation in the latest version of their International Classification of Medical Diseases version 11, ICD-11.
In their classification, nociplastic conditions are now recognised as Chronic Primary Pain.
The Guardian article discusses the similarities between fibromyalgia and long covid- they are plain and obvious and terrible for the individual. Research into long covid, is now taking off and hopefully it will shed a light and help our understanding of fibromyalgia at the same time.
Unfortunately, the article does not discuss treatment strategies for nociplastic conditions. However, in April 2021, in the UK, NICE produced a set of guidelines for the management for Chronic Primary Pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and recommended psychological approaches over tablets/ medication and interventional approaches, i.e., injections. Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) is their first line recommendation.
There are too few psychologists with the experience with applying ACT to manage chronic pain and the numbers of people with Chronic Primary Pain conditions who would benefit are enormous.
At www.ACTforPAIN.com we provide what we call a digitally supported self-management program which is both affordable and easy to access.
We are in the dark in our understanding of what is happening in long covid but the pains aspects can be explained by thinking of it as nociplastic pain condition. In this regard we believe, our program may help those unfortunate to contract this condition.