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  Thorpe-le-Soken Surgery

High Street
CO16 0EA
Branch surgery at Kirby Cross             
Tel: 01255 861850       Email: thorpelesoken.surgery@nhs.net



Dr Carla Mahmoud  


Dr Mathew Kattukaran  

COVID-19 update - To protect patients and staff all non-urgent appointments are being cancelled, a clinician will ring you as close to your booked appointment as possible


As well as the sections below, please also see the self help sections on dental problems, earache, and headache.


Pain is a sign that something is not right somewhere – usually you will know why this is.  A wide range of advice and painkillers are available from your pharmacist – aspirin, paracetamol, codeine or combinations of these.  If a particular drug or combination does not appear to work, try a different one on the next occasion. Aspirin should not be used in children under 12 years

Painkillers need to be taken regularly to have a sustained effect.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not exceed the dosage given on the packet.

Anti-inflammatory drugs may be appropriate for some pain, particularly for physical injuries such as sprains or backache.

Some pains such as severe chest pain or abdominal pain may require advice from a doctor before resorting to painkillers.

Contact the doctor when the surgery is open if:

  • a pain continues for several days despite taking appropriate painkillers 

Contact the doctor straight away if:

  • the pain is severe and you do not know what is causing it
  • the pain is worsening or spreading
  • the pain is in your chest – see section on chest pain

Abdominal Pain

Indigestion is common and usually easily recognised – generalised aching, a feeling of fullness, a burning below the breastbone or acid coming up, especially when lying flat. Indigestion usually follows a meal, particularly spicy foods, fatty foods or alcohol. Some drugs such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs may also cause indigestion.

Antacids (indigestion remedies) are available from your local pharmacist without a prescription and work by neutralising the excess acid. Newer, more expensive drugs are also available which decrease the production of acid. If your symptoms come back on stopping this medication you should consult your doctor.

Paracetamol may also be of benefit, but avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs which may well worsen the symptoms.

Appendicitis should be suspected if there is lower abdominal pain, associated with a general feeling of illness, which moves to the lower right have side of the abdomen.

Contact your doctor when the surgery is open if:

  • The pain continues for several days

  • The pain wakes you at night

  • The pain doesn’t respond to simple painkillers

Contact your doctor straight away if:

  • Severe abdominal pain doesn’t settle with an antacid or paracetamol

  • The pain becomes constant

  • The pain could be chest pain and doesn’t improve with antacids

  • The pain is associated with difficulty in breathing

Back Pain

Back pain is very common and seldom due to anything more than strained muscles or ligaments. X-rays are not usually helpful.

Long term back pain is often related to poor posture, be this at a desk, whilst driving or in bed. Exercise programmes, for example from a physiotherapist, may be of benefit.

Sudden back pain is usually caused by bending or lifting awkwardly – the weight involved need not be great and is, in fact, often something quite trivial.

If a nerve root is pinched by the muscle spasm, pain may appear to travel down the leg.

The mainstay of treatment is adequate pain relief. Aspirin, Paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs are all available over the counter and are all that is required for the majority of back pain. They should be taken at regular intervals for several days. The best position for back pain is not necessarily on a board or flat on the floor. The position which feels the most comfortable is usually the right one.

There is good evidence to suggest that prolonged rest (more than 2 days) actually delays resolution of back pain. Normal activity should be resumed as soon as possible.

Contact the doctor when the surgery is open if:

  • You experience frequent episodes of back pain
  • The back pain doesn’t improve after a few days of regular painkillers

Contact the doctor immediately if:

  • The back pain is associated with problems passing urine or does not vary with different positions.
  • The pain is severe and persists despite painkillers

Chest Pain

Chest pain associated with a heart attack tends to occur in older patients. It is typically a squeezing or crushing pain in the middle of the chest and may also spread up into the neck or down an arm. It is often associated with sweating, difficulty in breathing and feeling sick.

Muscular chest pain is more usual in the younger, fitter people and generally follows lifting, stretching or sometimes prolonged coughing. Unlike the pain associated with heart attacks, it is made worse by taking deep breaths or stretching or moving the arms around. Treatment is to take painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory tablets and rest.

Contact the doctor when the surgery is open if:

  • The pain persists for more than a day or two

Contact the doctor immediately if:

  • You are at all unsure of the cause of the pain

Phone 999 and ask for an ambulance if:

  • You believe that the patient may be having a heart attack

Period Pain

Period pains are common and usually easily recognised as such.  A wide variety of painkillers are available from pharmacies.

A hot water bottle and gentle exercise may help.

Contact the doctor when the surgery is open if:

  • you regularly suffer from period pains and they are not helped by routine painkillers

Contact the doctor straight away if:

  • you think you may be pregnant and miscarrying

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