Group Pain Consultations


The next meetings are Thursday 27th February 2020, then Thursdays 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th March 2020.

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 people 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.


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.


This is a new venture for us, but the evidence is that this type of group work helps people to manage their pain better. 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.

Quick Resource Guide

The practice pain site is at

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 PAINNET.ORG


Self help resources for patients

Self help resources for patients

One of the best sources of help for patients and professionals is at ‘Live well with Pain.

The website and resources were developed in North Tyneside and my patients have found these to be extremely helpful in thinking about what ‘Persistent Pain’ is and how we can ‘dial down’ the impact it is having on our lives.

I would suggest that you explore the site and some of the links on it. You might want to print out something that applies to you that you can discuss with your GP.

One of the problems is that some GPs are not good about talking about persistent pain, but we are working with them to try and improve their knowledge and skills.


Dr Morris Gallagher

PS: Look at the short video on pain on the front page of this blog for a quick summary of the latest thinking – and action – that can help you live better with persistent pain. 

Services in South Tyneside


The truth is that pain-killers are often not the solution to persistent pain. They may help a the beginning of a pain episode but they are best tailed off after three months and replaced with better things to re-programme the brain to manage the pain.

This is a list of services that may help you. What they have in common is that they help you to ‘re-programme’ your life and pain with exercise, diet, and mental skills. This has been shown to reduce pain and improve your life.



OUR ADVICE: This is a brilliant service for people with chronic knee and hip pain, but you need to be over 55 years old. This is popular with our patients who tell us that after the programme they have reduced pain and stronger knees. 

Th website says that “Escape-Pain is a group based, NICE-approved rehabilitation programme for the management of osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee.  Classes are run by Age Concern Tyneside South (ACTS) for six weeks with sessions on Mondays and Thursdays.  To be eligible you must:

  • do less than 30 minutes physical activity per week
  • be aged 55 years or older
  • have experienced chronic joint pain for at least 3 months
  • need a supervised exercise programme
  • be independently mobile and able to carry out regular exercise
  • Available to attend classes for 6 weeks

For more information please contact Age Concern Tyneside South on 0191 4566903.”

OUR ADVICE: ‘Pain-killers’ don’t work very well in ‘arthritis’ of the knee or hip and this is an excellent alternative. It does not matter if your pain is ‘mild’ or severe or are preparing for surgery this programme will help you.  


OUR ADVICE: This agency offers lots of help and advice. One of their programmes promotes ‘self care’ where you can look at ways of ‘re-programming’ your life with exercise, diet, and mental skills which improve your ability to deal with your pain. 


They provide a 6 week (2 hours per workshop) free course on “health and wellbeing in mind and body.”

The course looks at understanding what health is and what it is not. It looks at the body and mental and social wellbeing and how we can look after ourselves. Here is an extract from their website about this course;

  • “Behaviour change: Discover how we can try to change unhealthy behaviours and how the best motivator for change is ourself.
  • Self Esteem, & confidence: Learn how negative feelings can affect our behaviour which can affect our self-esteem and beliefs.
  • Stress: Find out what stress can do to our bodies and how we can chill out.
  • Nutrition: Investigate healthy eating, the eat well plate and food groups; salt, sugar and fat content and food packaging.
  • Exercise: Looks at what is exercise and how even a little is good for us; knowing where to go when things go wrong and social prescribing.”

How do I contact them?

You can refer yourself by ringing 0191 427 1666. This is the weblink.

OUR ADVICE: this is really helpful for patients with persistent pain where ‘medical treatment’ have not made much difference to their pain. It is a great way to look at other options to ‘reprogram’ the brain and reduce pain. some patients also like the shared experience of working with people who are ‘in the same boat’ 

3. South Tyneside Lifecycle Primary Care Mental Health Service – (formerly South Tyneside Talking Therapies)

OUR ADVICE: if stress, trauma, anxiety, low self esteem or depression are issues that you are dealing with then tackling them may improve your ability to deal with your pain

Also known as: South Tyneside Lifecycle Primary Care Mental Health Service or South Tyneside Talking Therapies.

They “offer a confidential service to individuals, families and groups depending on which method is most effective. We aim to help people through difficult times in their lives. We initially offer an assessment appointment to help you to decide, with the support of one of our experienced therapists, which therapy would be the most helpful to you.”

This is their list of things that they can help with

  • “Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Bereavement
  • Low Self Esteem
  • and other emotional issues”

The types of therapy that they describe include:

  • “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
  • Mindfulness
  • Primary Care Mental Health – workers who offer integrative brief therapy
  • Short Courses and Supported Self Help (4-6 weeks) that help people understand common mental health difficulties they might be experiencing and what they can do about them.”

Where is the service provided from?

This exciting six-day service will offer extended late evening appointments Monday – Thursday and Saturday opening. The main base will remain at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre with appointments offered to clients at Flagg Court Primary Care Centre, Monkton Hall as well as other venues across the borough.

How do I contact them?

You can self refer on 0191 404 1322, This is the weblink.

OUR ADVICE: assessment is normally within a few weeks but the wait for treatment can be several months. in the meantime here is a link to some resources that may help you.