National Pain Week in 2017 occurs between the 24th and 30th July with various organisations across Australia partaking in the week long campaign. Hosted by consumer group Chronic Pain Australia, the campaign aims at raising awareness surrounding the often unrecognised issue of chronic pain.
An estimated 20 percent of adult Australians suffer from chronic pain with women experiencing chronic pain more than men. It is more common in women within the 50-54 age bracket and men within the 55-59 age bracket. Injury is the most common cause of chronic pain (38 percent), though a further third of all people who experience chronic pain are unable to identify the original cause. Other identified causes include arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions, headache, cancer-related pain, post-surgical persistent pain and non-specific lower back pain. Chronic pain is estimated to cost the Australian economy $34.3 billion each year, which equates to $10,847 for each person with the condition.
The theme for 2017 is “Be bold. Let’s manage pain together”, focusing on the importance of collaboration in identifying solutions to manage chronic pain.
A key event is the National Pain Week Conference. Taking place in Sydney on Friday 28th July at Westmead Hospital, the conference aims to follow on from 2016’s conversation that addressed what would constitute a great pain clinic in Western Sydney. The conference is split into two sessions; a morning session full of ideas and information presented by several clinicians and an afternoon session of co-design with clinicians in Western Sydney hosted by Dr Coralie Wales, Founder and President of Chronic Pain Australia. A second co-design workshop hosted by Dr Coralie Wales will be held at Blacktown Hospital on Wednesday 26th July.
Not-for-profit advocacy organisation, Painaustralia, is also contributing to National Pain Week by providing a report that suggests recommendations for Australia’s National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes. The report outlines the importance of effective assessment and best-practice management of chronic pain in residential aged care facilities, particularly those with dementia or other cognitive impairment. You can access the report via the Painaustralia website.
Given that not everyone can take part in National Pain Week, how can the average person become involved? If you are living with chronic pain you might like to reach out to others and share your story either through an online forum or by joining a support group in your area. If you know someone living with chronic pain how about scheduling a catch-up or phone conversation? However you choose to participate, you can help to increase awareness and make pain visible!
If you would like more information about pain services offered by Arche Health, contact the Chronic Pain Management Coordinator on 9458 0545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chronic Pain Management Service is a free pain management service available for people living with chronic pain. You can read more about the service on our website here.