Managing your pain

Aches and pains are a normal part of life but if you've been struggling with pain for more than 12 weeks, there are things you can do to help.

Your first stop should be your GP so you can discuss your pain in all its forms. They may suggest trying some painkillers ;for short-term pain relief. However, painkillers are generally not considered a primary way to manage long-term pain.

If appropriate, your GP may suggest ways for you to stay active, which can help ease pain and improve your general wellbeing. You should be offered advice on how to better manage your pain on a day-to-day basis, such as by using self-help techniques.


For short-term and end of life pain, medications such as morphine and codeine can be very effective. For longer periods they can cause serious problems.

More and more research is showing that:

  • long term opioid use can reduce your quality of life and actually cause you more pain
  • after 12 weeks opioids are no more effective than a placebo in treating persistent pain
  • 4 out of 5 patients receive little or no benefit from long term opioid use
  • 1 in 5 that do benefit, only receive a 30% reduction in pain

Talk to your pharmacist about reducing your pain killer for a month. You may feel worse for a couple of weeks but most people find that their quality of life improves and their pain gets no worse.

Understanding pain video

Short term pain relief

You can buy paracetamol from a pharmacy or supermarket, please don’t request them on prescription. A box of 32 paracetamol tablets on prescription costs the NHS 4 times as much as it does to buy them from a pharmacy or supermarket.

Pain management services

There are plenty of services out there to help patients with chronic pain. The difficulty is finding them. They change frequently, and your doctor may not be aware of what’s around.

Well, thankfully there is a partnership which is a central resource of information for people of working age. It’s called Inclusion Cornwall and you can self refer to them just by calling or emailing them.

They help people by identifying their needs. This could be general advice, how to be more active, financial worries, volunteering and employment assistance. They will get to know you and use their experience of the hundreds of different support services around to help you find the right help at the right time. And they’ll keep in touch and redirect you if your needs change.

Call 01872 326 440

Email Inclusion Cornwall