Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice What Your Patient is Thinking

Reframing my chronic pain

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3571 (Published 07 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3571
  1. Hannah Vickers
  1. hannah.vickers.15{at}ucl.ac.uk

Hannah Vickers shares what it is like to live with chronic pain and what health professionals can do to support patients to manage and live with their pain.

Two years after my chronic leg pain started, I had gone through lots of investigations but still did not have a clear cause. My health professional asked, ‘Why do you think you’re in pain still?” I paused. I honestly did not know. He pushed me further, asking what I was concerned could be causing this. Now, exasperated and tearful, I answered again, “I don't know, that’s the problem.” After numerous investigations and one operation, no one had explained to me the cause of my pain.

Understanding the mechanisms

Living with daily pain is challenging and full of uncertainty. For years I …

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