Upcoming National Pain Week reveals the faces of pain
Chronic pain is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatised health conditions in Australia, often due to its hidden nature. Pain presents in a myriad of ways, including endometriosis, migraines, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathic pain or even unexplained pain. Around one in five Australians of all ages live with this invisible illness.
This National Pain Week — running from 27 July to 2 August — aims to bust some of the myths and stigma surrounding chronic pain by exploring the ‘Faces of Pain’, which is the theme for this year’s event.
What does life look like for someone with chronic pain? How do they live with constant pain?
Chronic pain can have significant impact on a person’s ability to work, form relationships and live an ordinary life. Chronic pain can also have a seriously detrimental effect on the mental health of people living with the condition. However, by working with various health practitioners and taking a long-term approach, people living with chronic pain can start to combat some of the effects it has on their lives and manage their pain the best they can.
National Pain Week is an annual initiative of Chronic Pain Australia, the national voice of people living with chronic pain. The week aims to destigmatise the experiences of people living with chronic pain while also championing the need for the voice of people living with chronic pain to be heard when any related health policy is developed.
What: National Pain Week
When: Monday, 27 July to Sunday, 2 August
Pain week will be launched virtually this year through a Facebook Live event at 11 am on Monday, 27 July on Chronic Pain Australia’s Facebook page. The results of this year’s National Pain Survey will be announced and a panel of consumers and medical professionals specialising in pain management will discuss the key themes and metrics of the survey. This year the survey asked people living with chronic pain about their experiences managing their pain during COVID-19 and utilising telehealth services and if they found them beneficial or not.
During National Pain Week, people living with chronic pain are encouraged to share their experiences and ideas on the chronic pain forum or on social media using the hashtags #PAINWEEK2020, #nationalpainweek, #equalpartnersinhealthcare. Leaders in the medical and political communities are also encouraged to support the initiative using the hashtags, and are encouraged to engage with Chronic Pain Australia and our members to look at ways they can better develop their understanding of the condition.
Chronic pain facts:
- Chronic pain is arguably Australia and the world’s fastest growing medical condition.
- One in five Australians lives with chronic pain, including adolescents and children. This prevalence rises to one in three people over the age of 65.
- One in five GP consultations involve a patient with chronic pain and almost 5% report severe, disabling chronic pain.
- The prevalence of chronic pain is projected to increase as Australia’s population ages — from around 3.2 million in 2007 to 5 million by 2050.
- Chronic pain is pain that doesn’t go away when the injury or illness has resolved — and lasts for longer than three months.
- It can be associated with chronic disease or injury eg, arthritis, lupus, cancer and even ongoing infection post injury.
- Many people live with chronic pain that does not have an obvious explanation in the structures of the body. In these situations, the nervous system and brain play a key role.
- Pain that relates to sensitisation of the nervous system can be particularly problematic. It is invisible and can lead to stigma.
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