The chronic pain cycle is vicious and can have a negative effect on your mental and physical state. Find tips for coping here.


Chronic pain syndrome is a painful condition that can be caused by a number of things, such as an accident, injury or illness. Approximately 28 million adults in the UK suffer from chronic pain syndrome, with 8 million describing their pain levels as moderate to severely disabling. At Brian Barr, we have vast experience in handling chronic pain compensation claims and, as a result, understand the condition well and know how poorly understood it is. Due to the painful symptoms of the syndrome, sufferers often experience a disruption to their everyday lives and know too well how vicious the cycle of chronic pain can be. In this blog, we explain what the chronic pain cycle is and how you can beat it once and for all.

Not only is chronic pain syndrome painful, it’s also constant, leaving sufferers with a never-ending battle on their hands. As always, pain comes with its own set of side effects, including stress, frustration and depression and, with all of these combined plus the usual effects of chronic pain syndrome, patients will start to feel worse as part of what’s known as the ‘chronic pain cycle’.

The chronic pain cycle is divided into five steps, outlined below:

  1. Step 1 begins with the pain itself, which is unbearable for sufferers, making their lives difficult on a daily basis.
  2. Step 2 then moves on to the fear of injury that sufferers may feel after experiencing severe pain. Due to how painful their symptoms are, they may become worried about incurring further injuries and pain in the future.
  3. Step 3 is similar to the above; to avoid further injuries, chronic pain patients will experience a fear of movement, making their lives sedentary as a result.
  4. Step 4 comes as a result of the above; due to the fear of injury combined with the fear of movement, many sufferers will lead an inactive lifestyle and will gain weight, leaving them with increased pain levels and problems sleeping.
  5. Step 5 is where chronic pain sufferers experience physical and mental side effects as a result of weight gain and the feeling of fatigue. These side effects include depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation.

As you can see, chronic pain syndrome has the ability to impair both your physical capabilities and psychosocial state; the strain put on your body due to the pain you feel can lead to secondary issues with your mood and behaviour. Below, we reveal our tips on how to cope.

Seek Advice

First and foremost, if you’re experiencing sleep deprivation, increased pain levels due to weight gain or are feeling anxious and/ or depressed as a result, seek advice from your doctor who knows both yourself and your condition well. Whether or not you receive a form of medication depends entirely on the cause, however your GP should be able to provide some sort of resolution.


So long as your doctor approves, taking part in light exercise is a great way to keep you from slipping too far in the chronic pain cycle; if you can manage your weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it will help. Although you won’t want to take part in any form of exercise due to your pain, give it a try and focus on the benefits it could have for you.


Having the emotional support from friends and family is hugely important when trying to manage pain and overall wellbeing. If you’re having a bad day, arrange to have a chat with someone close to you and let it all out. Keeping your feelings hidden away is bad; eventually, things will become too stressful and you’ll have bad thoughts, so don’t let this happen.

Pain Management Clinics

For some, ordinary medication doesn’t do the job when it comes to chronic pain. In this instance, your doctor may suggest that you attend a pain management clinic to alleviate your pain and benefit from alternative treatments. For more information on how to find a pain management clinic and what to expect, read our blog.

All in all, living with chronic pain tests your emotional, mental and physical strength. If you suffer with the condition as a result of an accident or injury, you may be entitled to chronic pain compensation. If you’d like to find out more or get in touch with our qualified team to discuss your case, call us for free on 0808 123 0003 or request a callback using our form.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.