Governments Urged to Support Pain Sufferers in National Pain Week

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 21 July, 2014

Elizabeth Carrigan - APMAAt the start of National Pain Week 2014 (21–27 July), the Australian Pain Management Association (APMA), is calling on state governments and health representatives to support and promote APMA’s national network of pain-support groups, which provide hope, education and practical strategies to thousands of pain sufferers.

 APMA’s pain-support groups are cost-effective, community-based and equip patients to manage their own pain condition. The groups have structured programs which allow people to actively learn to live with long-term pain. The essential component is the interaction between the participants and trained facilitator. 

‘These pain-support groups value-add to GP care because the facilitator has more time to explain to patients the role of the nervous system and chronic pain,’ says APMA’s CEO, Elizabeth Carrigan.

Studies of peer-led self-management education for patients with chronic pain have shown improvement in patients’ confidence to manage their pain, take up physical activity and improve their overall wellbeing. In the UK, national clinical guidelines have found that participation in a self-care program can reduce pain in patients by up to 12 months.

‘State governments and health representatives should be aware that it is better value for the overstretched health dollar if patients use evidence-based self-management strategies as part of their long-term pain-management plan,’ says Ms Carrigan.

 ‘People in pain require “tasters” of appropriate strategies, such as tai chi, so they can gently gain confidence and gradually restore general activities. We’ve found that simple advice is not sufficient.’
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