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Posted by Mariette Lobo, Dec 15 2013 4:01PM

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Guidelines for chronic pain services in Scotland

A momentous occasion (courtesy of Paulo Quadros from Intlife – his FB page)

I have great pleasure in letting you know that the SIGN national clinical guideline on the management of chronic pain was launched last Thursday,
12th December 2013 in Scotland. “This guideline provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the assessment and management of adults with chronic non malignant pain in nonspecialist settings, including self management, pharmacological, psychological, physical, complementary and dietary therapies.”

“The main guideline is accompanied by a patient version and three treatment pathways:
• Chronic pain assessment, early management and care planning in non-specialist settings
• Patients with neuropathic pain
• Using strong opioids in patients with chronic pain”

I am very grateful to all who made this possible.

I’m particularly excited that, after having campaigned for it for some 18 years, for the first time in Scotland, ‘complementary and alternative therapies’ are first line treatment recommendations in the NHS – in this case, for chronic lower back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis.

This means that now, when clinically relevant, GPs are encouraged to refer patients for the recommended CAM treatment and patients will be able to have an option to the usual pharmacological interventions.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The full guideline, quick reference and other documents can be found on (it also includes a 'Patient Booklet' explaining everything in simple lay terms)

A chronic pain website for patients and health professionals was also launched and can be found on
Mariette Lobo
Dec 15 2013 4:02PM
I'm delighted the door is now "opening" rather than remaining shut. Acupuncture is, hopefully, just the start and the rest, adopting Paulo's positive, intuitive, compassionate and "let's work together" approach is the way forward. It's perhaps unrealistic to assume they would suddenly take on board every therapy and they've had to make a start somewhere. Starting with "A" in the alphabet (Acupuncture!) and working their way down is good - and I am not an acupuncturist. As they say, slowly, slowly catchy monkey.....It would be a real shame if this amazing opportunity now descended into a "my therapy is better than yours or why have I been left out scenario". I posted the Scottish Government survey about chronic pain a while back on FB and CAM, forums, pages - you name it - and urged all Scottish therapist to fill it in. I wonder how many did!

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