Chronic pain: Mindfulness can have major impact on the common condition

Chronic pain: Expert says turmeric may be 'worth a try'

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Carl Finn is an occupational therapist based in Norfolk who has lived with chronic pain for a quarter of a century.

Mr Finn says it has a “massive effect” on his mental health.

In an attempt to ease the problem, the former RAF employee exercises regularly through the day.

After years of trying various methods, Finn has turned away from medication and exercise, and towards mindfulness.

Speaking about the change of approach, Mr Finn said: “When I was really struggling at work one of my managers suggested mindfulness.

“It had a massive effect on my mental health, these physical problems don’t come in isolation, there is always a mental health element to it.”

Mr Finn says mindfulness has had a positive impact on his chronic pain.

Meanwhile, Professor Willem Kuyken of Oxford University says mindfulness is “the greater ability to be in the present moment, without judgement, but with curiosity, kindness, and care”.

On chronic pain, the NHS has said they are “recruiting more clinical pharmacists and trained staff based at GP surgeries, so patients can access specialist care”.

The case of Mr Finn comes at a pertinent time for the NHS as the service reports shortages of painkilling medication.

These medicines fall under the banner of “generics”, types of medicine the NHS normally has in great supply and uses widely.

However, health experts are reporting shortages of painkillers and blood pressure medication.

In response to the shortages the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) has said there is a “real risk” pharmacies and the NHS could face shortages this summer.

However, while current medicines may soon be in short supply, there could be hope in the form of a new medicine with natural origins.

Trials are underway to establish whether medicinal cannabis could be used to treat chronic pain.

Experts describe the medicine as a “game changer”, one that treats patients, stops them from becoming addicted to opioids, and saves the NHS money.

Tony Samios describes chronic pain as a “very large unmet need” in the UK.

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