Persistent pain

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Persistent pain, also called chronic or long term pain, is pain that continues for more than three months and may not respond to standard medical treatment.
Almost 10 million people in the UK suffer from persistent pain which can impact on quality of life and lead to days off work.
Persistent pain can be triggered by an an injury some months or years ago. Often this injury has healed but the pain can continue. Other medical conditions can also result in persistent pain, for example osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This pain is different to acute pain (pain lasting less than 12 weeks). Acute pain acts as a warning signal to alert the body to a problem and to help the body to heal and recover. Persistent pain is when your nerves continue to react even though the initial cause has healed.
For advice on coping with persistent pain, please read our information in the highlighted box which includes a video explaining how chronic pain works differently in the body.
If you feel you need further help, please contact us directly or ask your GP to refer you to our physiotherapy service.
Please see the Pain Science Education Workbook which might help you understand your pain.
The following link will play a back pain video in Turkish for more information on how to manage your back pain.
For more information on why we have persistent or chronic pain please watch this video:

How to be referred

You can either be referred by your GP or you can self refer. Click here to refer yourself to MSK Physiotherapy.

Contact us

For general physiotherapy queries, please call 020 3224 4789.

For new referral queries, please contact our central bookings team on 020 3316 1111.

For AQP referral queries, please call 020 3224 4692.

For MSK CATS referral queries, please call 020 3224 4744.
For any queries please email

Advice Leaflets

Exercise Videos

Useful Apps

Please click each title to find out more.

NHS 24 MSK Help

Advice on common muscle, back and joint problems:

  • Exercises and video clips to help you get moving safely
  • Information to help with Work – Working lives information
  • Reminders to do your exercises and/or attend any appointments
  • A log to keep a note of your progress


In order to be able to treat pain effectively, pain experts recommend you keep a diary. CatchMyPain allows you to track your pain problem by using detailed drawings and by providing other relevant information. The diary will help you to explain your pain problem to any care provider.

Last updated22 May 2018
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