What our Panel said about long-term pain... April 2018

This month, COORDINARE sought to understand how people in South Eastern NSW who experience long-term pain (chronic pain) manage their health, and the support services they use.

Survey responses indicated that almost three-quarters of participants (69%) have experienced long-term pain themselves, or supported someone else with long-term pain.

According to our findings, 4 in 5 people have tried to manage this long-term pain through medication prescribed by a doctor, or by acquiring medication over the counter.

Almost half of people (47%) have looked up information about effective long-term pain management.

The top research avenues for this information were:

  • an internet or Google search
  • consultation with a GP, doctor or specialist
  • reading relevant books
  • advice from a health professional or therapist.

CHP graph resized 

Above: Our panel was asked how they prefer to source information about long-term pain management.

More than 85% of participants felt that tailored exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are the most crucial factors in managing long-term pain. Medication and rest were also considered to be important.

Many of our panel members have tried ‘alternative methods’ of pain management, such as massage, osteopathy, meditation, chiropractic, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and podiatry. Other suggestions for pain management strategies included:  

  • physiotherapy
  • diet and lifestyle changes
  • pain management programs
  • heat packs
  • allergy tests
  • supplements.

The changes to the availability of codeine will not impact 3 in 4 of our panel members.

For those who still require codeine, more than 90% will now access it through a prescription from their doctor. A small percentage of people said they have a stock-pile, or will stop using codeine altogether.

For 85% of our panel, a doctor has suggested an alternative pain relief medication to codeine. Surgical intervention was recommended to a small percentage of people.

More than 65% of people see pain as a barrier to exercise. Most people felt that exercise provides positive health benefits, but feared being in too much pain to exercise.

Thank you to all survey participants for sharing your experiences of long-term pain and its impact on your health and wellbeing, or the health and wellbeing of someone you care for.

Your views will be taken into account as we work with medical practitioners and providers to improve access to pain management services and programs in South Eastern NSW.

For help and advice on long-term pain management, the Agency for Clinical Innovation has some useful resources available on the Pain Management Network.

Are you interested in further opportunities to have your say on local health care issues?

Grand Pacific Health is accepting expressions of interest for their Carer and Consumer Advisory Panel – Primary Mental Health. Click here for more information.

BreastScreenNSW is looking for a South Eastern NSW representative for their Service Management Advisory Committee. Click here for more information.