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IMPACT - Chronic Pain

IMPACT Service

Interdisciplinary Musculoskeletal Pain Assessment and Community Treatment Service


IMPACT is a specialist rehabilitation service for people with chronic pain.  We aim to improve quality of life for adults with longstanding widespread or localised pain through an evidence-based approach.  The service is based at the Haywood Hospital and also runs clinics at Leek Moorlands Hospital and Milehouse Primary Care Centre near Knutton, Newcastle under Lyme.  It is also affiliated with the Centre for Primary Care Sciences at Keele University.

The clinical team consists of a Consultant Anaesthetist, a Consultant Rheumatologist, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, a Consultant Physiotherapist, a Specialist Nurse and a Specialist Physiotherapist.

Unfortunately, at present, the IMPACT service is only available to patients whose GP is from North Staffordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT).


The IMPACT Service

Stoke on Trent Community Health Services

Upper Admin. Offices

Haywood Hospital

Stoke on Trent, ST6 7AG

Tel: 01782 673751


Information for Patients

Pain is a common experience.  It usually goes away fairly quickly, either of its own accord or with treatment.  Unfortunately in some cases it does not, longstanding pain like this is called chronic pain.

Chronic pain can occur with certain conditions, after surgery or illness, or sometimes for no apparent reason.  In some cases it is thought the body's pain system does not work properly.  The pain system becomes over sensitive and even sensations like touch can be painful.  Frequently there is no obvious cause for this and even when a cause can be identified, there is often no 'cure'.  That is, today's treatments do not seem to achieve long term relief from pain or the other physical sensations which can come along with it.

People can spend lots of time and money seeing different specialists and trying different treatments which give only modest improvement or perhaps contribute to additional problems.  Most importantly, these treatments do not allow people to 'get their life back' - in other words, they do not allow a return to activities important to the individual.

Physical activity tends to increase pain and therefore is often avoided in an effort to control or minimise having more pain.  This can lead to stopping activities which have importance in people's lives, leading to loss of independence, loss of work, changes in mood, and poorer relationships with partners, family and friends.

Whilst chronic pain does not mean there is on-going damage to the body and it is safe to do activities with increased pain, it can be hard to be active on a consistent basis.  Overdoing things usually requires an extended period of time to recover before being active again and maintaining certain aspects of life can often come at the expense of other important areas.

Even when pain continues, it is still possible to live a full life.  We understand trying to achieve this can feel impossible and previous efforts at doing so may have been unsuccessful.  Treatment through the IMPACT service aims to help people with pain return to important activities on a sustainable and consistent basis.


Feedback for Patients

At the end of each treatment programme we ask every patient for feedback.  One question we ask is 'What would you say to someone with pain who was thinking about coming on a programme?'  Some of their comments are as below:

'It has enabled me to not let pain be the focus of my life.  I did not believe this programme was for me.  I felt I would not follow this through and was anxious about attending.  However I now feel this has been very rewarding.  It has made me feel I am not alone, not going mad, and I feel more in control of my life.'

'Don't worry about people thinking the pain is all in your mind.  The pain is there and is real.  What I gained from the course wasn't what I thought I wanted, however I am a much happier person for completing it.  I can't believe the difference it has made to myself and to my family.  By going on the course with an open mind you have nothing to lose and maybe everything to gain.'

'I thought it would almost be like brain washing but it wasn't and I have really moved forward in living my life with pain.  It's very hard at first and you may question why you are here.  Facing up to things can be very emotional and upsetting, but give the course time because it really does work.  A very worthwhile 8 days of my life.'


How to be Referred to the IMPACT Service

If you have longstanding pain and would like to do more of the things that are important to you, or are struggling to maintain participation in these activities, our service may be able to help.

Referrals are accepted from General Practitioners (GPs) by either a letter or the Choose and Book System.  Referrals are also accepted from musculoskeletal interface services, secondary care musculoskeletal services and secondary care pain services.

NB for Referrers:

At present the service is only available for patients whose GP is from North Staffordshire PCT.  Please contact the service for full eligibility criteria on 01782 673751.


What Happens at my First Appointment?

You will be assessed by a senior member of staff and asked to fill out some questionnaires.  The assessment and questionnaires will help us find out more about you and how your pain affects your everyday life.  The assessment may involve a physical examination.  At the end of the appointment we will clarify how we might be able to help and discuss with you options for treatment.


Results from the Group Programme

Treatment Outcomes

Below are the results from the first twelve months of running the 8 day IMPACT pain rehabilitation group programme.  Results shown are the average percentage improvement, from before treatment to after treatment and, before treatment to 3 months after the end of treatment.

The above was gathered using valid standardised outcome measures.


Patient Satisfaction

Satisfaction scores of patients who have completed the group programme.

How satisfied are you that treatment met your needs?  In other words, how happy are you with the outcomes that were achieved and the treatment delivered?


How satisfied are you with the programme staff?  In other words, how happy are you with how you were treated?


Research and Education

To be added.