You may have read in the press that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE- this is the body that provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care are consulting on draft guidelines for the management of chronic pain. Chronic pain is pain that lasts for six months or more and can also remain long after a physical trauma has been healed. Fibromyalgia is classed as a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain effects around 40 per cent of the world’s population- so these finalised guidelines will impact on the life’s of millions of people.
In their draft proposals they put forward that there is no evidence for the use of opioid medication in the management of chronic pain (The proposals won’t stop you having them if you are already on them, although if you decide to come off them, then you would be supported to do so) and that there better options in their view to manage chronic pain including anti-depressive medications and time limited acupuncture.
Some parts of the proposed guidelines have been criticised as they could leave many without effective pain management as many people with chronic pain use a range of pain management tools and the proposals could limit access to those tools. Some of the tools that chronic pain sufferers use include exercise, attending pain management programmes, the use of CBD oil, aqua therapy, lidocaine infusions, steroid injections and having regular massages. For some of these options, NICE in its proposed guidelines say there is weak evidence to support their use.
Chair of Fibromyalgia Friends Together, Mark Farmer said “The guidelines if implemented as they are will leave many without effective pain management options and will tie the hands of doctors, nurses and other professionals that work with people with chronic pain sufferers. We know from speaking to people with Fibroymyalgia that what works for one chronic pain sufferer doesn’t work for another. This is why it is really important that you tell NICE what you think of these draft guidelines and you need to tell them what works for you”
You can give your views on the draft guidelines by going to this link: Draft NICE Chronic Pain Guidelines consultation page and filling out the form at step 3. You have until 5pm on the 14th of September to do so.
The British Pain Society is also asking for feedback on the proposals to help inform their response to them. You can respond to their survey via this link
Information on population numbers taken from: