Pain is a major issue for Australians

July 22nd to July 28th is National Pain Week. Each year Chronic Pain Australia organises this week to champion the needs of those living in chronic pain. We want to help you do something about it.

The Osteopaths at Sydney Health Professionals in Broadway, Sydney spend a lot of time consulting with people in pain, providing hands-on treatment, helping them form recovery plans, strategising with them about how to harm minimise in their daily life and prescribing remedial exercises.

Did you know 6.9 Million Australians live with musculoskeletal pain! 

As Osteos we hear lots of stories from those suffering from pain. It’s really common – much more than you think. As mentioned above, 6.9 million Aussies live with ongoing musculoskeletal issues. Many of them can be classified as suffering from chronic pain.

As part of National Pain Week, we are encouraging all Australians to spare some time to think about the burden of chronic pain on their families, their workplaces and on themselves. The odds are you will know more than one person dealing with a pain condition right now.

The Suffering from Pain 

Significant mental health challenges go along with the physical issues for suffers. The conditions are painful and ongoing. Issues like lower back pain, whiplash and arthritis can go on to develop into chronic conditions. 30% to 40% of those dealing with chronic pain report major depression. Many more will have significant issues with worry, stress, anxiety or mood.

Chronic pain is a serious burden for the individual and their family, as well as society at large. It comes with a significant risk of developing mental health issues and causes people to pull back from things they love like exercise, sport, socialising, fun activities like dance and music and it adds restrictions to work activities, domestic roles and more.

Treatment and care from an Osteopath 

Osteopaths have a primary role in dealing with people with chronic pain. We provide care and education as well as hands-on treatment. Seek out help if you find yourself suffering from pain.

Above all remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I often see a patient a few years after dealing with a very painful difficult chronic issue that seemed at the time to have no end in sight. When I come around to asking specifically about their old injury, they often have forgotten about it. Time heals all wounds, as the old idiom goes. It just sometimes does not adhere to a schedule.

If you know someone in pain who might not be doing so well, reach out. Recommend that they see someone who can help.

Tips from an Osteopath for dealing with persistent pain:

  • Understanding

Chronic pain is a complex issue. It has many causes, not just one. Many forms of stress contribute to pain issues in a major way and are often just a part of life. Don’t expect yourself or your loved one to make an immediate recovery and don’t look for “miracle” solutions. Give them your care and empathy. If you are suffering, don’t be hard on yourself. If you are running out of patience, see someone professionally. An Osteopath, a GP, a psychologist – someone who can help bring understanding and direction.

  • Communication

Talk to people about their pain. If it is a loved one and you feel comfortable, open up a dialogue about their feelings that go along with the pain. This can be a much more positive avenue for understanding than focusing on the pain. Many families get sick and tired of talking about someone’s painful condition. Understanding the suffering, fear, fatigue, panic and depression that come alongside a longstanding and painful issue is key. If you are out of patience, ask them to see someone who can help. If it’s yourself and you feel your family is not listening, do the same.

  • Get good help

Seek advice and treatment for the pain. Look for a therapist who displays a modern understanding of pain. Almost all long-standing pain conditions don’t come just from injured tissues, but a complex mix of lifestyle, ergonomic, sleep, diet and genetic factors that create an environment where the pain from the original injury continues on beyond its usefulness to the person who suffered it. Be wary of those promising cures or to know exactly where the pain has come from.  This does not reflect the current scientific understanding of pain and is not a useful approach for chronic pain.

  • Work for your success

Be prepared to make changes in your life habits to bring improvements in pain levels.  Diet, exercise, sleep and mental health all have huge impacts on susceptibility to pain. As do social environments like work hierarchies and families. The biggest immediate changes in pain levels come from making meaningful changes in these areas. Often you need to make changes in many of these areas to make a real difference.

  • Management is key

Pain is not static but fluctuates from day to day and week to week. I always teach my patients in chronic pain to expect this. It helps protect them from the emotional roller-coaster ride that goes with chronic pain. All management strategies have a place. Medication, manual therapy, massage, music, dance, art, love, relaxation and friendship can all work to improve pain levels. Persistence is key. Remember time heals all wounds, including painful ones.

Why not book a consultation with one of our professionals to discuss how they can help get you back to optimum health.  

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