What is pain?

In its simplest form, pain is caused by tissue damage, for example, if you have been burnt, cut or have a broken bone. Sometimes pain is caused by dysfunction in the nerves carrying pain messages.

If these nerve fibres and pathways become damaged or broken, it can create a range of painful, unusual, or uncomfortable sensations, ranging from acute, exquisite pain, to tingling or ‘pins and needles’ sensations, to continuous aching or throbbing pain. This is known as neuropathic pain.

What can cause pain?

Pain can be caused by a range of conditions, including injury and disease, such as:

  • Abdominal pain caused by endometriosis, ulcer, or hernia
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Cancer
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Contusion and bruising
  • Headache and migraine
  • Neuromuscular conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Sciatica
  • Slipped disc
  • Surgery
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, or facial pain

Does everyone experience pain?

We all experience pain from time-to-time in our daily lives but mostly it's self-limiting and runs its course. Pain that becomes chronic can be very debilitating and a constant source of frustration. It can be difficult to explain and its source can be hard to determine. What’s more, it can have major effects on your work, social and family.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is the term typically given to pain that occurs for three months or longer. Chronic pain is a common condition that affects up to one in five adults in Scotland (source: Scottish Government PDF).

Acute pain is something we experience when we injure ourselves or suffer some form of trauma. It's also our body’s way of warning us when an underlying disease process may be developing, prompting us to seek help.

For the majority of people, acute pain settles down as the body’s healing processes take effect or when a disease is brought under control. However, for some individuals pain persists beyond the usual or expected time, and can become ‘chronic pain’.

How can Nuffield Health Edinburgh Hospital help with my pain?

We understand that the persistence of pain can become a major obstacle in trying to live a normal life, both physically and emotionally. If you suffer from chronic pain, seeing a specialist and having your condition assessed, diagnosed and treated quickly can make all the difference.

That’s why we work with specialists across a range of clinical areas to offer a cohesive service for the holistic management of pain. Our team aims to reduce your pain, address the emotional impact of the pain and increase your mobility, activity and overall wellbeing.

Our pain management service aims to offer fast access to a comprehensive specialist service for the management of all aspects of chronic pain, including:

  • abdominal pain
  • pelvic pain
  • chronic pain
  • neuropathic pain
  • musculoskeletal pain

Our pain service includes:

  • full consultation with a pain specialist
  • diagnostic imaging for the investigation of pain within the body
  • blood tests for further pathological investigation
  • pain medication
  • image-guided injections and on-site day-case operating theatre for pain management injections, such as an epidural
  • specialist physiotherapy
  • Psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) support for pain sufferers

How can I arrange an appointment with Edinburgh Hospital for assistance with pain?

You can self-refer for some of our services, including specialist physiotherapy, psychology and CBT. A referral from your GP is required to see a consultant in pain medicine.

We work with a range of specialists to help you get the best from your private healthcare experience, including:

  • Consultants in Pain Medicine, Anaesthesia and Neurosurgery
  • Sub-specialist radiologists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists