New Resource to Help Patients with Chronic Pain

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 15 September, 2014


GPs  now have easy access to a useful resource to help patients with chronic pain better understand and manage their condition.
Painaustralia’s fact sheets are now available inside Healthshare’s Fact Sheets application. The application is integrated into the GP’s clinical software to provide patient education at the time of consultation. When the GP adds any chronic pain-related term as the patient’s “reason for visit” Healthshare’s application will present Painaustralia’s materials for the GP to print out or email to the patient.
Unlike acute pain which is relatively easy to treat, chronic pain is a very complex condition which can often challenge GPs. There is no simple answer and medication has limited – if any long term effect.
Dr Ian Thong who has clinics in Orange and Bathurst, is one of a small but growing number of GPs who now specialise in helping people with chronic pain.
“One in five people in Australia live with chronic pain and this increases to one in three in the older age group – so it’s not surprising that about one in five visits to a GP involves a person with pain,” said Dr Thong.
“Over time, patients have learnt to “suffer in silence” after being told that all medical treatments have been tried and there is no obvious cause of the pain.”
“We now know that chronic pain is a complex condition with many contributing factors. Current research suggests that the optimal way to manage chronic pain is with a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the physical, psychological and social factors that contribute to chronic pain.”
“A best-practice approach involves helping a patient to better understand the factors that contribute to their pain and coaching them with self-management strategies such as tailored exercise programs, meditation and other non-medical and non-invasive measures.”
“If this approach is not getting results and pain continues to interfere with quality of life, it may be worthwhile seeking an opinion from a specialist pain physician.”
Not surprisingly, chronic pain is also often associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety – which can be exacerbated by the disruption that pain causes to people’s lives, their families and their ability to work, so that treating the “whole person” is integral to effective pain management.
Access to specialist pain clinics has become easier in the past year or so with the opening of new regional clinics in most states and specialist GP led pain services emerging in primary care. (See www.painaustralia.org.au )
CEO of Painaustralia Lesley Brydon said, “With the growing concerns about misuse of pain medications, in particular social issues associated with opioid abuse we hope that GPs will welcome the fact sheet as a useful tool. It promotes a best practice approach to medication use and self-management strategies which have been shown to be most helpful to people with pain.”
“Healthshare is pleased to be partnering with Painaustralia to provide our GP userbase with valuable information about best practice approaches related to chronic pain,” said Healthshare’s CEO Rami Weiss. “GPs rely on having high-quality clinically relevant material at their fingertips during the consultation and our application helps facilitate this by integrating fully into the GP’s workflow.”
The Painaustralia factsheet Managing Chronic Pain can now be downloaded from Healthshare’s Digital Patient and GP Education website: http://www.healthsharefactsheets.com.au/

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