Prescribe exercise, not painkillers, to chronic pain sufferers says NICE


By Tom Walker April 09, 2021

New guide targets patients with pain that cannot be tracked for any underlying condition / Shutterstock / Liderina

Adults with chronic pain should be advised to exercise rather than being prescribed pain relievers, according to new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

In a groundbreaking move, NICE says patients looking to manage their pain should be advised to engage in physical activity to alleviate the condition – as well as staying physically active for longer-term general health benefits.

The new guide outlines recommended care plans for patients with pain that cannot be followed in any underlying condition – also known as chronic primary pain.

The new NICE guidelines say physicians should “provide a supervised group exercise program for people aged 16 and over to manage chronic primary pain,” but adding that they should “consider the needs, people’s specific preferences and abilities ”.

He also advises against resorting to commonly used pain relievers, including paracetamol, because there is “little or no evidence that they make a difference in people’s quality of life, pain or psychological distress. but they can cause damage, including possible addiction “.

The guidelines mark a major shift in pain management policy in the UK and are seen as a huge victory for the physical activity industry, which has long advocated exercise as an essential service and form of preventive health care.

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of the Center for Guidelines at NICE, said: “We want this guideline to make a positive difference for people with chronic pain, their families and their caregivers.

“It highlights that understanding how pain affects a person’s life and those around them and knowing what is important to the person is the first step in developing an effective care and support plan that recognizes and treats a person’s pain as valid and unique. for them.”

The guideline emphasizes the need for shared decision-making, placing patients at the center of their care and fostering a collaborative and supportive relationship between patients and healthcare professionals.

It emphasizes the importance for healthcare professionals to understand how a person’s life affects their pain and how pain affects their life, including their work and play, relationships with family and friends, and sleep. .

• To read the entire NICE guide, Click here.



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