Living Well with Pain

17th January 2019 By Tina

I have traversed a difficult journey with both back pain and sciatica (neuropathic pain), following an accident in 2008.  Here are some of my thoughts on pain management and of living and working well with persistent pain.  As well as supporting people with persistent pain I hope to help ‘bridge the gap’ between people with persistent pain and healthcare professionals (especially physiotherapists).

To make navigating this blog site easier I have split it into two sections, which can be accessed by the menu at the top of the page.

‘Supporting HCPs’ contains posts most relevant to Physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals.

‘Managing Pain Well’ contains posts most relevant to people living with persistent pain.

All posts can be accessed from the Home page.

Why am I writing this blog?

17th January 2019 By Tina
Through my lived experience of persistent pain, and my professional and volunteer experience working both with people with persistent pain and with healthcare professionals, I hope to help ‘bridge the gap’ between patients and healthcare professionals.

I have travelled a difficult journey of recovery and rehabilitation and I hope the insight, knowledge and pain management skills I have gained from this experience may help others to traverse their pain journey in the best, and most optimistic, way they can. More →

A patient’s simple understanding of sciatica, radicular pain and radiculopathy

17th January 2019 By Tina
I have been told I have sciatica, but what does this mean?   What is sciatica?  What is radicular pain and radiculopathy?  What is neuropathy?  How do these terms fit together?  What happened in my body to cause my condition?  How might back surgery help? More →

A patient’s thoughts on the therapeutic alliance

13th January 2019 By Tina

I cannot over-emphasise how important it is to me as a persistent pain patient to have a strong, supportive therapeutic relationship, both with my physiotherapist and other clinicians involved in my care. More →

A patient’s thoughts on acceptance

13th January 2019 By Tina

Please don’t underestimate how difficult ‘acceptance’ of a persistent pain condition is.  Please don’t think it can ever be ‘achieved’.  It is a process, and if the pain condition is a lifelong problem, then so is the process of ‘acceptance’.  More →

25 Elements of Living Well with Pain

11th December 2018 By Tina
I have been thinking, with the help of some amazing people on Twitter, about the elements involved in Living Well with Pain.

These are my ‘final’ thoughts in the form of a MindMap. More →

A patient’s understanding of persistent pain

17th November 2018 By Tina
Ten years ago, my life was changed by a manual handling accident. I now live in persistent pain, but I still live a good and fulfilled life, just one that is different.  Before the accident, like everyone else, I experienced pain periodically, for example when I fell over, when I sprained my ankle or when I burnt myself on a hot pan.   I assumed that pain meant I had physically ‘hurt’ a part of myself and that when it ‘healed’ the pain would stop.  I didn’t put much thought into what pain was or what it was affected by.  I didn’t need to. More →

What I want from a physiotherapist

29th October 2018 By Tina

What I want when I go to see a physiotherapist, or any clinician, is someone with a wide range of ‘tools’ in their toolbox, with no strong biases to or against any of them, with strong listening and motivational skills, who will work WITH me as a whole, individual person, to help me progress and ‘rehabilitate’. I need their strong clinical reasoning skills, and their ability to explain in a way I can understand (like a teacher does). More →

How do I know what a physiotherapist does?

29th October 2018 By Tina

As a patient how do I know what a physiotherapist does?  Through ‘common knowledge’?  Is that a consistent accurate picture? Through the Internet? Do websites give a good picture.  Are they written in patient friendly language? More →

A patient’s thoughts on aspects of pain management

25th October 2018 By Tina
I’ve recently written a blog called ‘A patient’s understanding of pain’, which explains some of the difficulties I have found fitting my experience of persistent pain into some of the published models of pain.  Armed with my new understanding of MY pain I decided to think through my approach to managing my persistent pain condition with a view to improving my situation going forward.  This is the basis of this blog. More →

A persistent pain ‘acceptance’ conundrum

24th October 2018 By Tina

I’ve recently written a blog called ‘A patient’s understanding of pain’, which explains some of the difficulties I have found fitting my experience of persistent pain into some of the published models of pain.  Armed with my new understanding of MY pain I decided to think through what else I could do to further improve my pain situation.  An area I felt worth exploring was my ‘acceptance’ of my persistent pain. More →

Musings about my experience of the BioPsychoSocial model in physiotherapy

3rd September 2018 By Tina


I’m a relative newbie to Twitter and have been reading with interest the posts about the BioPsychoSocial model and its use in Physiotherapy.

I have tried to understand what the BioPsychoSocial model means for me as a physiotherapy patient by following two main avenues of thought.  First, what would ‘psycho-social’ mean in my own profession (or rather ex profession) of school teaching, and secondly what has been my experience of physiotherapy thus far and do I think I have been treated mainly within the BioPsychoSocial model or mainly within the Medical model. More →

Cognitive Functional Therapy changed my life!

18th August 2018 By Tina
Why do some physiotherapists follow a Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) approach when treating chronic pain conditions?  What does this mean?  Is CFT any better than any other approach?  How does it benefit me as a patient?

This blog looks at my experience, as a patient with chronic disabling lower back and sciatic pain, being treated by a physiotherapist following a Cognitive Functional Therapy approach.  For me the approach was life changing! More →

Enabling me to work in chronic pain

17th August 2018 By Tina
A short post, with a MindMap, showing the ‘enablers’ that have helped me to continue working following my accident in 2008.  More →

‘What went well’, ‘Even better if’

16th August 2018 By Tina
A short post, with a MindMap, showing ‘What went well’ with my care and treatment since my accident in 2008, and what would have been ‘Even better if’. More →

Professionals involved in my care

13th August 2018 By Tina
A short post showing the approximate number of treatments I was given following my manual handling accident in 2008, and the approximate number of professionals involved in my care / assessment. More →

Resources for pain sufferers

11th August 2018 By Tina
A list, with hyperlinks, to resources I have found useful in my quest to understand pain and to learn to self-manage pain.  Includes links to stories of other people living with persistent pain, which I have found particularly helpful. More →

A patient’s view of core stability exercise

8th August 2018 By Tina
Following my manual handling accident in 2008, core stability exercises were prescribed for me by a number of consultants and physiotherapists, and taught to me over an extensive period of time, but did they really do any good?  Did they have a significant beneficial effect on my pain either in the short term or long term, or improve my function?  Does the research evidence base support the care I received?  Could a different physiotherapy approach have worked better for me?  More →

The ‘invisible barrier of perception’ that hinders self-management

7th August 2018 By Tina
I have been on a 10 year journey with back and sciatic nerve pain, learning and developing pain self-management skills as I go.  When on my own, or with familiar people aware of my condition, I am careful to manage my current pain, and to minimise the ‘wind up’ of my neuropathic pain which results in me suffering increased pain and difficulties later that day and into the next.

However, when I am with people who don’t know of my condition, I can stop self-managing with often painful consequences!  Why would I, and others, do that? More →

A visual approach to pain management

6th August 2018 By Tina
In order to live the best possible life that I can with chronic pain, it was, and still is, important for me to learn how to manage my pain on a daily basis.  Everyone’s pain is different, even if they suffer from the same medical condition, and each individual must work out pain management methods that work for them, preferably with the support of professionals. This is my approach.

More →

The positive (and negative) impact of a word – ‘disabled’

5th August 2018 By Tina
I live, work and travel with a persistent pain condition, I have some functional limitations, and  I self-identify as ‘disabled’.  Accepting I was ‘disabled’ was a difficult, but for me necessary, step in moving on with my life.  It has facilitated me being able to access support offered by my employers and by transport services in order to live as full and meaningful a life as possible. More →