Peer support image Peer support

Do you feel alone with your pain? Isolated?  We can help!  We are a group of volunteers both patients and ex patients, who because we too live with chronic pain, can offer you support in a variety of ways. It is however important to bear in mind we are not clinicians and therefore are unable to give clinical advice.

To use this helpline, you should to be registered to a Dorset GP

  • Meet the Peer Mentors

    • Roland (Ben)

      I am 66 years old and after studying biological sciences at university I worked for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry in a number of roles and locations. My career was ended abruptly due to ill health, a catastrophe at the time but, as it turned out, a blessing in disguise.

      I have a number of interests and hobbies, the main ones being; the arts; fishing; and beekeeping.

      Since my mid-forties I have suffered several health issues, principally associated with arthritic conditions, and have had multiple (17, I think) surgical procedures - most with some success, some not.

      I had a number of complications with a hip replacement which is the main, but not only, source of the chronic pain that took me to the Dorset Pain Management Programme. A programme that has helped me greatly. So much so that I now want to give something back and help others with chronic pain to live and thrive, despite the debilitating effects – whoever they are and whatever the cause.

    • Debbie

      I am 53 years old and have multiple sclerosis, which has over the years created other problems.  I am normally a positive person though do have bad days, like everyone else in the world. They are also normally related to my pain levels.  I have done the pain management course and found it to be beneficial.  It helps me to be me. 

      I feel I am able to help support a person with pain by being there for them. Perhaps help them understand why and how it will enable them to help themselves. If they get lost a bit and disheartened, gently reminding on what helps them and why, by gently reminding them of what they have mentioned.

    • Lynda

      I was unfortunate to suffer nerve damage during breast and lymph node surgery in 1996. That same year I also underwent a complete hysterectomy and lost my mother to ovarian cancer. The neuropathic pain because of the nerve damage was really unbearable and  I was soon referred to the Pain clinic where I had various treatments which helped in the short term. However it was when I learned about the then new Pain management programme and signed up to it that I learned over time to gain control over my life living with chronic pain. Another blow was dealt me when I developed a different pain alongside the neuropathic pain and that was diagnosed as Fibromyalgia.

      Over the years I have gone through different episodes of emotion attached to the daily pain but  have  used my Pain management tools to engage  in positive activity like volunteering, learning to drive at 61years in order to gain more independence. I try to have the attitude that this is my one life and I’m going to make the most of it.  I have my bad days but I don’t define myself by them. I hope my own experience is where I can empathise with others also living with persistent pain.

    • Lesley

      I am just 58 years old, have a great deal of empathy, am always looking for the positive in life and suffered chronic pain most of it.  Not until just 2 years ago did I begin to learn about chronic pain, begin to understand it and live with it more effectively.   I did this by taking part in the Pain Management Programme and for having this life changing opportunity I will be eternally grateful. 

      I have always worked until just two years ago when my many conditions of which fibromyalgia and migraines are key players made this no longer possible. I had to make a sensible life choice to ensure that I can make life more effective and pleasurable whilst dealing with chronic pain and have now retired.  A hard choice to make when I have devoted my career in helping others, whether that be in education, volunteering in my local community or working in  drug  and alcohol services and lastly with the homeless,  it was however worth it!

      Personally I use many techniques to control and live with my pain, one of which is mindfulness which has been a blessing in disguise. Heat and cold compresses are also a game changer as is a hot bath.   I am unable to take many medications.  I use movement to help and love a bit of seated Thai Chi. Using these techniques I am now able to control and live with my pain far more effectively.  I am me again!

      By becoming a volunteer for the Pain Management Service I hope to be able to give back and to inspire others to move forward in their journey to manage their chronic pain so they too can enjoy life again.

    • Penny

      I was referred to the pain management team about 9 years ago, after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

      I have learnt to manage my condition reasonably well and if I am able to help anyone else in some small way to live with and manage their pain then I would like to do so.

  • Blog: My Lockdown Challenge

  • The PainPals Volunteers

    As persistent pain sufferers we all need a little extra help from time to time. Would you like to speak with someone who understands what it’s like? Don’t feel alone anymore - the PainPals Helpline is here to lend an ear! A helpline manned by volunteers who know what it is like to be in pain and have developed ways to manage it. 

    Helpline - 01202 858361 

    PLEASE NOTE the PainPals Helpline will be closed on the two upcoming bank holidays – 2nd and 3rd June 2022.

    Open Mon-Fri 11:00 - 16:00; Wed 14:00 - 16:00 only.

    See below for detailed information regarding our Helpline.

  • Pain Chain - Peer Mentor support

    We can also provide you with access to a dedicated peer mentor through the Pain Chain service.  They are trained volunteers who have lived experience of pain and have been through the service themselves. They offer one-to-one support across a number of sessions to help you with your pain management journey.

  • Facebook

    There is a Facebook “Dorset PainPals” support group. Although this is strictly outside of the NHS Pain service and beyond our role as volunteers, it is managed by some of us volunteers and there is some additional support offered by the Pain service staff if we meet any issues. It is completely closed to NHS staff and only managed by people living with chronic pain.

    We also has a Facebook Pan Service Page with up-to-date service information and resources.

  • Coffee mornings

    We have well established coffee mornings throughout the county. They have however been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will let you know when they are back up and running.