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HealthInfo Canterbury

Self-care for persistent pain

Persistent pain (which is also called chronic pain) is a complex condition, so we need to use different tools to treat and manage it.

Although your doctor and other healthcare professionals can support you in managing your pain, the average person with a persistent condition will spend only three hours a year in contact with these people. This means it is essential that you have tools to help you manage your pain in your everyday life. Understanding how to manage your pain will help you to live a more fulfilling life.

What can I do?

Who can help?


Your doctor will usually be your main contact for help in managing your pain. Often there are many small steps that can help, but you need to take time to work on them. So sticking with one GP and seeing them regularly will make it easier for them to help you to manage your pain.

Talk to your GP about whether you would benefit from seeing a specialist psychologist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Your GP may refer you to one or more of these health professionals.

Burwood Pain Management Centre

The team at the Burwood Pain Management Centre are specialists in managing complex pain. Your GP may refer you to this team if you would benefit from specialist input. If your GP refers you to this service you will be invited to attend an introductory seminar that explains some ways of dealing with persistent pain, and will help to find out if you will benefit from further treatment.

Financial support

For information about funding that your GP might be able to use to reduce the cost of your health care, see Funding schemes at your general practice.

To find out about the disability allowance benefit, see Disability allowance for adults.

On the next page: Medication for persistent pain

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Burwood Pain Management Centre clinical coordinator. Last reviewed June 2017. Last updated June 2019.

See also:

Acute plans

Preparing for your doctor's visit


Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at

Page reference: 79021

Review key: HICHP-79018