Pain campaign helps patients both manage and talk about it

3 minute read

A chronic pain advocacy group has launched resources to help overcome pain stigma and help patients get the most out of allied health.

Chronic Pain Australia aims to destigmatise life with chronic pain and help sufferers get the most out of their whole health team, with the launch of two new resources.

The patient group has created a booklet called “Understanding chronic pain”, which answers questions on what pain is and gives tips on how to manage it. It has also launched a video series called “Faces of Pain”, which highlights the personal experiences of patients with chronic pain, to reassure sufferers that they aren’t alone.

The launch coincides with National Pain Week, which runs from July 27 to August 2. This year’s theme is also “Faces of Pain”.

“We chose this theme because our community often speak of the stigma associated with chronic pain and the challenges they face because others can’t relate or understand what life is like with persistent pain,” the national president of Chronic Pain Australia, Jarrod McMaugh, said in a statement.

“We hope by showing what it’s like to live with pain, people will also learn what they can do to manage pain if they ever develop it in the future.”

Patients who read the booklet can learn how best to manage their allied health team, with an overview of questions to ask their doctor.

“We know that when pain is managed well, it is only because a person living with pain has a great GP, pharmacist and probably some sort of allied health professional or specialist,” said Mr McMaugh. “But getting the right combination of health professionals to support you and making sure you are asking for the right types of support can be difficult.”

The booklet suggests the patient ask their doctor about possible new treatment options, referrals to pain specialists, coordinating care plans and accessing government subsidies.

It encourages patients to inquire about possible medication side effects and interactions, and what to do if the medication isn’t working.

Patients are also encouraged to explore non-drug ways of managing their pain, including distraction techniques, how mindset can affect the burden of pain, daily routines and systems that allow for time to rest and how to ensure medication is taken at the appropriate time.

Mr McMaugh said it was important to dispel misconceptions around chronic pain – in particular, that it isn’t simply extreme pain.

“Chronic pain is not in this category, it can last years or a lifetime,” said Mr McMaugh. “It can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, their mental wellbeing and their ability to work, form relationships, and live a fulfilling life.

“However, by working with various suitable health professionals and taking a long-term approach, people living with chronic pain may combat some of the effects it has on their lives and manage their pain the best way possible for them to have a fulfilling life,” Mr McMaugh said.

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