Pete, like many pain patients, was looking for a magic bullet to take away his pain. Managing his pain was like playing a game of snakes and ladders - a game of luck. Most days melted into the next and he describes his previous self as a poor self manager - he didn't exercise or look after his body, he ate all of the wrong foods and when something went wrong with his body, he expected his doctor to fix it. In July of 1996, he attended the INPUT Pain Management Program (PMP) - a program that helped increase his confidence and mobility and provided him with the toolkit to self-manage his pain. He returned to work full time in 2000 and to date has never taken a sick day.
Since returning to work he has been passionate about chronic pain education for both healthcare practitioners and patients. Pete wrote a 6-week back self-management program called 'Think-Back', ran the Think-Back program for BackCare and worked for the NHS Expert Patients Program. Currently he works on the Pain Toolkit, which provides educational support for both patients and practitioners. He has co-authored the Pain Toolkit with Dr. Frances Cole - a simple patient booklet which has been used extensively in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Pete was awarded the Pain Champion UK award in 2014 for the work that he has done to promote pain management. Pete pledges that "it should be everyone's right to be signposted to, and have accessible educational pain self-management in their community and on the Internet."
1. What's important for me and for my pain/health?
2. What can I do to help myself? Who else should be involved in my care?
3. What skills do I need to keep well? Do I have the information and knowledge about my pain/condition and how it affects me?
4. What ongoing support do I need?
5. Do I know what to do if I get stuck?
A huge shout out to Pete for all of his amazing work advocating for proper management of chronic pain and for taking the time to thoughtfully answer our question. You can follow Pete on Twitter @paintoolkit2