Chronic pain specialist joins hospital staff

Dr. John Lee, a chronic pain specialist, has joined the clinical team at the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.

Dr. Lee, who brings more than a decade of experience in pain medicine to the local health care system, has previously been the consultant in pain medicine at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in the United Kingdom, where he led a department of about 40 staff.

He has been a member of several British committees, setting standards and guidelines for chronic pain.

“This is an exciting stride forward for the HSA. Chronic pain affects a significant portion of the community with just under 20 per cent of the population suffering from long-term pain issues. We are looking forward to the contributions that Dr. Lee will be able to make in this area,” said Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer of the Health Services Authority.

Pain management employs a multidisciplinary approach to the relief of pain and improvement in the quality of life of those living with pain. Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that has lasted for more than three months.

Long-term pain ranges from headache and joint pain, to pain as a consequence of other diseases, for example, diabetes or after a stroke, and backache. Although chronic pain may originate with an initial injury or medical condition, there are people who suffer with long-term pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

The emotional toll of chronic pain has also been shown to worsen the condition resulting in anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue and can become a vicious circle that is difficult to break.

According to Dr. Lee, “for people living with chronic pain, the ability to understand their condition, and know how to manage it, provides a sense of control and confidence that can go a long way toward minimising the debilitating impact of chronic pain”.

“I am looking forward to being able to further develop the pain service programmes here at the Health Services Authority and to assist patients who are living with chronic pain. I welcome the opportunity to implement programmes that target self-management and focus on coping skills that alleviate the negative thoughts associated with chronic pain.

“It is not unusual for chronic pain to persist, even though the cause of the pain is no longer present; therefore, good pain management is the long-term goal. Pain management is a team effort and I will be working closely with my other specialist colleagues, particularly within spinal services, to facilitate educational sessions about the management of chronic pain for primary care, health care providers and the public,” Dr. Lee said.