How does Pain Association Scotland help Veterans? -
Pain Association Scotland was established to help Veterans living with chronic pain and other limiting conditions. The simple idea was to develop a specialist service just for veterans because it was identified that veterans often struggled to access or benefit from work delivered in the wider civilian community. Ultimately Veterans reach the limits of clinical help and are left facing the stark reality of having to deal with an intractable condition on their own. This often leads to a difficult mix of bewilderment, frustration, anger, low mood, stress, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of being abandoned and isolated. For many Veterans, these condition-related problems can exacerbate pre-existing distress caused by adjustment issues, stress, trauma and difficult family life. Our aim is therefore to provide our veterans with the skills and tools in self-management to help them manage their pain on a day-to-day basis and ultimately help them lead a better quality of life.
Veterans’ Foundation is proud to support the charity with funding over the last 3 years. Pain Association Scotland had this to say regarding the grants they have received from Veterans’ Foundation: “We are delighted with the valuable grant funding from the Veterans Foundation. It will allow us to further develop and enhance our one-to-one and group support for veterans burdened with chronic pain. Currently, Veterans in Scotland who are needing to access a pain management programme need to access this by clinical referral and are required to travel to London for this residential course. Quite often for those in chronic pain, this is not possible and can also be quite distressing having to be taken away from home and family routine.”
The following case study goes to show how Pain Association Scotland look after the clients they work with.
A serious injury whilst he was serving meant that John pushed through injuries whilst on deployment where what he describes as ‘traumatic experiences’ added to his problems.
Many years after leaving the Army his life became very limited. Short-term memory loss from his brain injury created substantial practical difficulties which were exacerbated by isolation, anxiety and depression. His life was confined to living alone in his flat. COVID meant that his very limited occasional social life was curtailed and that he hadn’t been outside for a long time.
When John first came to Pain Association Scotland, he was very depressed, low on motivation and feeling stuck and hopeless. His life was chaotic and he was struggling with the basics of daily living. He said that his pain was very bad but his biggest issue was low mood and just getting through the day “in one piece.”
The charity worked initially building trust and rapport which then led to the introduction of some pain management concepts to see which ideas he connected with. He responded particularly well to relaxation techniques which came as a surprise to him and so he was sent a set of recordings that he could use whenever he needed. He said that he was very impressed with these, to quote his words; ‘these are brilliant!’ and said that he shared them widely amongst his friends. His self-esteem was rock bottom, so anything at all to boost this was welcome. Most importantly, he uses these relaxation techniques to help himself sleep.