Question asked by: 
Gosia, 36
Date asked: 
Apr 2014

I have a rare type of ovarian cancer. I have neuropathic pains and have been referred to pain team. I am still managing to work but it is impacting on other activities like housework and sport. When I get tired, I get more pain. What will happen on my first visit to pain team? What kind of tests can they do to show where the pain is coming from? What can be done to treat this kind of pain?

I have been referred to pain team. What should I expect?
The pain team will take a holistic approach to you and your pain, and how it affects your lifestyle.
Response by Dr Sara Stoneham

The pain team is used to managing complex and difficult pain that doesn’t respond to standard agents.

They have expertise in understanding the different types and causes of pain, and which type of pain will best respond to what agents.

When you first visit them, they’ll take a detailed history from you and perform a thorough examination. 

They should take a holistic approach to you and your pain, and discuss how any pain relief fits in with your lifestyle.

Many pain relief agents do have multiple side effects, so they’ll talk to you about whether the side effects may be less tolerable than the pain itself.

It’s likely they’ll assess how to manage and control your symptoms, rather than trying to work out the cause of your pain. However, they may refer you for further testing if they think the cause of your pain has not been fully evaluated.

The team will teach you how to manage pain and take control of it.
Response by Annette Martyn

The pain team will carry out an assessment on your first visit, which may involve other health care professionals, such as a pain nurse specialist.

It is important to understand the team may not be able to take your pain away but will teach you how to manage the pain yourself, and take control of it. 

You may also want to talk to your CNS about other sources of support, such as counselling, if you think this might help you cope at this difficult time.