Immediately following the April earthquake, volunteers established makeshift pain relief stations in two evacuation centres in Pokhara; working with the British Gurkha Welfare Scheme. Over a four week period two Chinese medicine specialists conducted treatment days twice a week in each evacuation centre, treating between twenty and forty patients a day. Pain Relief health camps were also run both within the British camp in Pokhara to treat staff and on an ad hoc basis for fellow relief workers.
A broad range of pain inducing conditions were treated with an overwhelmingly positive response on the part of both evacuees and fellow relief workers, along with clear clinical benefits, physically and emotionally. It was during this pilot phase that the real need for a sustainable, ongoing efforts to establish a viable network of Pain Relief Stations (PRS) became evident. Numerous local healthcare providers and relief workers showed interest in learning techniques to alleviate pain, they were enthusiastically engaged and received basic training in massage and rudimentary but effective techniques.
Our work to date
Pain Relief Stations (PRS) at:
PRS at Thamudi, Pokhara (5th May – June 2015)
PRS at Temple School Evacuation Centre, Pokhara (May 2015)
PRS at Etay Namo Buddha School, Panauti (26th July 2015 – date)
PRS at Gurkha Welfare Trust Kathmandu, reconnaissance expedition into Gorka Epicentre region (29th – 31st April 2015)
PRS at Kaski Gurkha Welfare Trust, Residence Home (12th, 15th and 20th May 2015)
PRS at Gurkha Welfare Trust, British Camp Staff (19th and 21st May 2015)
PRS at Panouti Etay Namo Buddha School Primary (July27-August27)
PRS at Army Infantry Camp Kathmandu (August 10-August 17)
PRS at Pokhara Ghurka Welfare Station
From the pain relief work conducted in Nepal both prior to and during the recent earthquakes, we learnt that the following constitute the most prevalent and significant pain inducing conditions affecting the area:
Existing chronic pain conditions
Those most affected by the earthquake , have a host of chronic pain related conditions such as, osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, vertebral compression, muscle fatigue, stroke, diabetes, gout, cervical spondylosis etc.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
There are significant gynaecological and obstetrics needs both with pre-existing pain conditions and with post-earthquake injuries. Numerous births are occurring both in the field and in the evacuation centres.
The evacuation centres are being used as primary hospital overflow centres. Evacuees discharged from hospitals arrive with recently caste broken limbs, broken ribs, post abdominal surgery, head wounds etc.
Due to the unstable building methods used in mountainous rural Nepal, the earthquake resulted in significant loose debris causing numerous minor traumas.
Psychological and emotional pain
Those suffering from physical pain experience great psychological stress. When the physical pain is extreme and with no alleviation available or likely, the evacuee begins to retract and stop integrating, leading to deep psychological and emotional pain.
Many evacuees have been left unattended to, displaced and injured for extended periods of time even days.
Both evacuees and fellow relief workers are experiencing severe and prolonged fatigued with accompanying pain conditions, such as muscle and joint pain, lower back pain, headaches, anger and fear.