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It's giving us our life back

Helping people to cope with pain

By Natalie Geraghty, Wigan Evening Post, 8th January 2010

A series of courses for people suffering from chronic pain have been commissioned by Wigan Council as part of the What Makes Wigan Work?  strategy.

Several thousand people in the borough are unable to work due to back pain or other muscular or skeletal conditions.

In many cases there is only a limited amount that can be done with conventional medical treatment.

Breathworks, the not-for-profit organisation, runs the Living Well programme which uses an approach called "Mindfulness", recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). It uses guided body awareness exercises to develop greater ease and natural breathing to manage pain.

It aims to help people get the most out of life. Courses have been running locally through the autumn.

One participant from Hindley Green, who has suffered chronic pain in her spine and neck for 18 years, said at the end of the programme: "It's not just about learning to live with my pain but it becomes part of you. I used to think: 'oh why have I got this?', now I've learned acceptance. My GP said 'it's done you the world of good' and is going to refer other patients. I would like to say thank you very much for giving me my life back."

Wigan Borough Partnership and Wigan Council have allocated funds from the Communities and Local Government's Working Neighbourhoods Fund, for a series of Living Well courses in the borough. Courses are free to people who are out of work and suffering from pain, and are not linked to benefit provision.

The next courses, the last ones available under the present round of funding, start at the beginning of February (2010) in Wigan, Abram and Leigh. Call 0161 834 1110 for details.

Article reproduced courtesy of the Wigan Evening Post,