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Identification and management of chronic pain in primary care: a review.

Mills, Sarah; Torrance, Nicola; Smith, Blair H.


Sarah Mills

Blair H. Smith


Chronic pain is a common, complex, and challenging condition, where understanding the biological, social, physical and psychological contexts is vital to successful outcomes in primary care. In managing chronic pain the focus is often on promoting rehabilitation and maximizing quality of life rather than achieving cure. Recent screening tools and brief intervention techniques can be effective in helping clinicians identify, stratify and manage both patients already living with chronic pain and those who are at risk of developing chronic pain from acute pain. Frequent assessment and reassessment are key to ensuring treatment is appropriate and safe, as well as minimizing and addressing side effects. Primary care management should be holistic and evidence-based (where possible) and incorporates both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, including psychology, self-management, physiotherapy, peripheral nervous system stimulation, complementary therapies and comprehensive pain-management programmes. These may either be based wholly in primary care or supported by appropriate specialist referral.


MILLS, S., TORRANCE, N. and SMITH, B.H. 2016. Identification and management of chronic pain in primary care: a review. Current psychiatry reports [online], 18(2), article ID 22. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 28, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 28, 2016
Publication Date Feb 29, 2016
Deposit Date Jan 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 16, 2020
Journal Current psychiatry reports
Print ISSN 1523-3812
Electronic ISSN 1535-1645
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 2
Article Number 22
Keywords Chronic pain; General practice; Primary care; Multidisciplinary; Pharmacological
Public URL
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