Pathways and Referrals

It can sometimes be challenging to know which patients to send where, for chronic pain management. Given the large number of people living with chronic pain, most will be managed in primary care, however when people need extra support can be referred to services such as Health Trainers or IAPT.

  • Health trainers – these are community based practitioners who have generic skills in promoting self-management, and linking people in with local facilities and support. In some parts of the city (south and east at present) they have had additional training in managing chronic pain.
  • IAPT- These teams have had some training in helping people deal with the psychological consequences of living with persistent or chronic conditions, especially where there are not obvious medical explanations.

Referral to MSK Sheffield

Referral to MSK Sheffield will enable your patient to be managed through the Sheffield MSK Sheffield pain service:

Northern General Pain clinic

The Northern General based pain clinic is a highly specialised service designed to help patients with long standing pain problems (persistent pain).

The overall principles include, where possible, reducing an individual’s pain directly (with medication and occasionally injections if appropriate) and, most importantly, aiming to help all patients cope with the effects of pain to allow them to live better.

This involves increasing a patients understanding of the nature of their individual pain – more specifically, that pain does not equal tissue damage, but represents a malfunction in the nervous system which allows a sensation of pain to be felt repeatedly.

In addition, it is important to place the patients pain in context with their inability or difficulty in doing normal activities, and explain how anxieties and low mood that often accompany this situation are an important part of their problem.

The service uses the skills of a number of different healthcare professionals to assess and treat the patients pain in a combined team approach. At STH Pain Clinic, there are consultant anaesthetists - who have specific training in pain medicine - senior pain physiotherapists, a senior pain occupational therapist, senior pain nurses, clinical psychologists and a consultant psychiatrist. Assessment and treatment for an individual patient may be carried out by several of the above people. STH Pain Clinic also runs a weekly multi-disciplinary team meeting attended by representatives from all the above specialities. It allows team members to discuss and better help patients with the most difficult pain problems.

Pain Management Solutions (PMS)

PMS deliver a range of interdisciplinary management options - including pain management programmes, functional rehabilitation and psychological therapies as an aid to rehabilitation – in a number of community locations. The patient will be offered a choice of locations at the point of booking their appointment.


Are integrated into the pain team and have specific skills in managing persistent pain. This therapy based service is provided in a number of community locations. The patient will be offered a choice of locations at the point of booking their appointment.