We all deserve to live with minimal pain and discomfort! If you are a veteran who experiences chronic pain, you may need support to achieve your best health. This is true whether or not your pain comes from your time serving in the Armed Forces.
Many veterans endure chronic pain from health issues developed during or after service, or simply through ageing. Dealing with pain can be a lonely and frustrating challenge – but if you are a VOS service user, there are some programmes that VOS can help you access to take steps to alleviating your pain.
If you’re reading this and not a VOS service user, please make contact through your local veterans’ charities or GP instead.
Alongside VOS partner resources like the Defence Medical Welfare Service, Walking with the Wounded and Combat Stress, the NHS ‘persistent pain‘ teams in Portsmouth and Southampton offer meaningful support to veterans who are referred by their GPs. The Veterans’ Pain Management Programme (PMP) might also be a great option for you, so please read on to learn all about it.
What is the Veterans’ Pain Management Programme (PMP)?
The Veterans’ Pain Management Programme (PMP) is a King Edward VII’s Hospital initiative that began in 2015. Though based in London, it has now extended its free services nationwide via Zoom. It has supported more than 400 veterans to cope with chronic pain, and has been rated by the QCC as ‘Outstanding’…twice!
The PMP accepts groups of 8 to 10 veterans per virtual programme, and each programme is conducted through 10 sessions across nine months. The sessions involve practical day-to-day pain management strategies and education from expert psychologists, nurses and physiotherapists, plus opportunities to discuss pain experiences with other veterans.
Friends and family are also invited to a special session once per programme to better understand chronic pain and support you adequately.
Benefits of the Veteran Pain Management Programme
Many PMP users, like John, have enjoyed benefits including:
- Techniques to manage pain flare-ups
- Improved mobility and physical function
- Reduced pain-related distress and negative emotions
- Resuming or increasing daily activities by controlling how pain affects lifestyle
- Understanding how pain’s psychological by-products are influenced by beliefs, behaviours and mindsets
- Re-evaluated medication prescriptions, potentially reducing negative side effects
For a paper describing the positive effects of PNP’s chronic pain management on veterans click here: PNP Paper
How Veterans with Chronic Pain Can Apply
This free veteran wellbeing initiative is great news for veterans in need of pain management support, but it does require completing some forms.
You will need to have served in the Armed Forces (regular or reserves) for a minimum of one day, and you must have already been out of the Forces for three months (minimum) by the time you apply. The PMP application needs evidence documents like a Military ID Card, Certificate of Service, or an email from another charity that can confirm your veteran status (like us!). It also requires a GP referral, which you can arrange through an online consent form that allows the PMP to contact your GP. Full application details are here.
It can be intimidating completing forms when you’re already dealing with pain. If you attend a Drop-In (or reach out to the Veterans Outreach Support office by phone or email), we at VOS can lend a hand. VOS is here to help connect veterans and their partners, spouses and carers to the services that support them best.
Pain not a problem for you? We can connect you with other support resources and initiatives to improve your quality of life, many of which involve our wide range of partner organisations. If you’re a veteran, partner, spouse or carer located in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Gosport, Fareham or the Solent area you are very welcome to visit our Drop-Ins and ask for what you need. You can read about how beneficial reaching out can be at the link below.
VOS is here to support veterans from the UK Armed Forces service, the Merchant Navy, and their partners. If you know a veteran (from any time of service), please pass our details along. If you’re a veteran or partner and are thinking about getting in touch, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 02392 731 767, visit one of our drop-ins, or email email@example.com.