Most people are affected by pain at some point in their lives. There are two main types of pain:

  • Acute, or short-term pain (which has started recently)
  • Chronic, or long-term pain (which has lasted for three months or more)

GPs are well positioned to help you with short-term pain – they will try to make a diagnosis and offer treatment options.

Chronic pain is often a symptom of another underlying condition, such as cancer or arthritis, but it is also an illness in its own right, due to an issue in the body’s pain system. Support from your GP and pain services can lessen the pain, improve your independence and help you cope in general. There are many support programmes to help you manage your pain, but if your pain is more severe and is affecting your quality of life, stopping you leaving the house and damaging your mobility, then you may be referred to your local pain clinic.


Pain clinics

Referral to a pain clinic should come through your GP or hospital consultant. They have teams of staff from different medical areas all working together to help people with pain – such as doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. Treatments are wide ranging, and include painkilling drugs and acupuncture.


Chronic pain associated with cancer

Pain can greatly affect your quality of life. Chronic pain can make it hard for you to do everyday things such as bathing, shopping, cooking, sleeping and eating. Breakthrough pain is a burst of pain that occurs even though you are regularly taking pain medication for chronic pain. It varies in intensity and usually cannot be predicted. It usually comes on quickly, lasts as long as an hour, and is more severe and intense than chronic pain. It can happen multiple times a day, even though the chronic pain is controlled by the regular pain medicine.1

Pain care specialists are able to prescribe a range of treatments for breakthrough cancer pain after evaluating the best approaches for each individual patient.

Between 3 and 6 out of 10 people with cancer (30 to 60%) will have some sort of pain. With advanced cancer, pain is more likely. Advanced cancer is when the cancer has spread or come back since it was first treated. Sadly 9 out of 10 people with advanced cancer (70 to 90%) will have pain.2

We offer a comprehensive range of pain management solutions that help healthcare professionals to respond effectively to the individual requirements of each patient. 


Support for pain sufferers

We believe that supporting patients with chronic pain is important and also complex. As well as playing our part, we know that charities and other patient organisations provide valuable support too, that's why we also point you in their direction. 

  • More information and support for patients with chronic pain can be accessed through the main patient charities in the UK, Pain Relief Foundation and The British Pain Society where valuable support and advice is available to patients, carers and their families.

  • You can also connect with patients who have chronic pain conditions through patient communities such as Patients like me and Sharing experiences and finding other patients who have the same concerns and outlook as you do can provide reassurance and support when you need it most.

More information > 


Supporting patients now and in the future

We continue to explore opportunities to expand into other neurodegenerative and central nervous system conditions. Our intent remains, as always, to provide patients with the most effective and safest treatments for their diseases. 

Our work with patients, and our experience in this therapy area, means we are well placed to invest in extensive research into potential cures and medicines to help alleviate the many symptoms of MS and other central nervous system disorders, to offer patients and healthcare professionals a wider choice of treatments.



[1] accessed 10.04.18

[2] accessed 10.04.18