Pain meetings


We have been running face to face pain group consultations for the last 18 months. Covid has changed things so that we are moving to provide these meeting on the Internet – Virtual Group Consultations.

You can book by contacting our Pain Administrator Dorothy Mulvain at the surgery – phone 01914554621 or email Book promptly!


This is a group meeting to help and support anyone with chronic or persistent pain.

Chronic or persistent pain is as defined as “pain lasting more than 3 months that does not respond well to medication.”

Most people with chronic or persistent pain are on or have tried opiate medication such as codeine, tramadol, morphine or oxycodone and ‘nerve pain modifiers such as gabapentin or pregabalin. They only work about 25% of the time. The group looks at ‘what else’ is available and helps people who want to to reduce medication.

This group is for anyone with chronic pain. You might be at the start of your ‘pain journey’ and be on no medication, or you might have had pain for many years and want to share your experiences or alter your medication.


Chronic pain is a long-term condition where education, building networks, teaching practical skills and building care plans can make a difference; that has been our experience from running two preliminary pain groups at three different GP practices.

  • It is a group of 15-18 patients with chronic or persistent pain led by a facilitator and lasting about an hour and a half to two hours.
  • The group leader will introduce the group which will look at a video about ‘What chronic pain is and what you can do about it,’ then the leader will help the group to set an agenda or list of questions that they want to look at. This may be about alternative ways of managing pain, reducing medication and pain related issues.
  • The group leader, a pharmacist or a GP will answer group questions, present information and describe approaches that help self care, making lifestyle changes and reducing medication.
  • At the end of the meeting, the pharmacist or GP prescriber will visit the group to make  a ‘pit-stop’– for those patients who want to alter their treatment on the day.
  • All patients will sign a confidentiality agreement as people’s personal medical histories may be discussed in the meeting.
  • This is NOT a normal GP, pharmacist or nurse appointment; if you want to talk at length about your pain or treatment then you will need to make a separate pharmacist or GP appointment.
  • These consultation ‘pit-stops’ will be managed by the group leader or an admin person from the practice.


The evidence is that this type of group work helps people to manage their pain better. Patients’ tell us that they feel less ‘invisible’ mixing with other people with similar problems and different ways of managing their pain and life.

The agenda will be set by you but we also have useful information to share. Many of those that attended a previous group have reduced, stopped or changed their pain medication or taken up new ways of managing their pain.

This is not a ‘magic bullet’ for managing your chronic pain but it could help you to feel more in control of your pain and make a big difference to your life.

In this third wave of groups we are doing an evaluation before and several weeks after you attend a group. Please complete these as it helps us to help you.


There are some differences from the face to face group and when finalised they will be on the website in this place.


There is some brilliant stuff here about pain and links to several helping sources or organisations.

  • LEAFLETS and a lot more on this site
  • ESCAPE-PAIN: A programme for people who it’s knee and hip pain (Over 55). More details 0191 4566903.
  • BLISSABILITY: A programme (any age) that helps people with chronic illness and pain. Ring: 0191 4271666
  • LIFECYCLE – Talking therapy: helps with anxiety, stress, depression and coping with pain. Tel: 0191 2832937
  • PHYSIOTHERAPY: Can be helpful in managing musculoskeletal pain and pain management. Tel 0191 6531072

Central Surgery, South Shields NE34 7QD.

Tel: 0191 455 4621. 

Why do I have persistent pain?

Pain is complicated. It’s partly due to damage in nerves, muscles and other tissues, but pain can continue even when the damage repairs. We think that the mind has a big part to play and learns to continue the pain, rather like the ‘phantom’ pain someone has after an amputated leg; the leg has gone but the mind still registers the pain. We also know those other things that ‘prey on our mind,’ such as family pressures, illness, anxiety, depression, past experiences of injury and poor sleep ‘dial-up’ our pain rather than ‘dial it down. Understanding this helps to look at other things to reduce chronic or persistent pain.

Have a look at the brilliant video about persistent pain on our patient site.