CHRONIC pain, which is when pain doesn’t go away after injury or illness has resolved and lasts at least three months, is a significant health issue in Australia.
It affects around one in five people of all ages, with even more alarming figures for the older population, which is one in three.
Raising awareness of these statistics, Chronic Pain Australia, through this year’s National Pain Week, from July 22-28, hopes to give a national voice to people living with chronic pain.
The new theme, “Equal partners in my healthcare”, highlights the need to recognise the voice of people living with chronic pain in any decision making process around treatment.
The theme was chosen by Chronic Pain Australia after they had an overwhelming response from chronic pain sufferers who said they aren’t seen as an equal partner in their pain management, taken seriously and, in many cases, even believed.
This is a huge concern, and according to statistics, one in five GP consultations involve a patient with chronic pain and almost five percent report severe, disabling chronic pain.
And, 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.
Centre helps women understand pelvic problems
JUNIC Specialist Centre, which focuses on endometriosis and women’s health, is empowering women who suffer with chronic pelvic pain through its new pain education sessions, says Dr Uche Menakaya.
The education sessions will be run by pain psychologist Kerrianne Abbott and are aimed at helping women with chronic pelvic pain understand both the origin and mechanisms of their pain.
Dr Uche, who is an obstetrician, gynaecologist, sonologist and laparoscopic surgeon at the centre, says the sessions will also help women develop additional personalised strategies for pain management so they can improve their quality of life.
The Junic Specialist Centre also offers ultrasounds, allied health services, preoperative diagnosis, surgical treatments and physiotherapy.
Dr Uche says: “We’ve put together a coalition of expertise for women.”
“We are the first to offer the whole spectrum for managing chronic pain from endometriosis.”
JUNIC Specialist Centre, 110 Woodberry Avenue, Coombs. Call 6178 0470, email email@example.com or visit junicimaging.com.au
Non-toxic ways to tackle pain
AFTER moving from California to Canberra and noticing a lack of diverse health and wellbeing services, Ebony Anderson founded the Wellness Empowerment Collective last year in Lyneham.
Backed with qualifications in nursing, yoga, fitness and healing, Ebony wanted to share her skills with the Canberra region and in particular people with chronic pain and autoimmune pain.
To help ease pain and reduce inflammation, the Wellness Empowerment Collective offers services such as fitness sessions, yoga, cryotherapy, salt therapy, massages and float tanks.
And, Ebony says the Wellness Empowerment Collective is one of four clinics in Australia that offers Cryo T-Shock for cellulite and fat removal and the only clinic in Canberra that offers full-body cryotherapy.
“We’re really a one-stop-shop,” Ebony says.
“Everything here is non-toxic; we use heat, cold, light and salt.”
Ebony has been working as a nurse practitioner since 1992, and has a wealth of experience and qualifications.
She says she ultimately wants to work with her clients to get them off medication.
Wellness Empowerment Collective, 2 Rigall Place, National Hockey Centre, Level 1, Lyneham. Call 0450 585569, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wellnessempowerment.com.au
Secret lies in self-management
THE ACT Pain Centre has served Canberrans for almost six years, says practice manager Kalpana Palaniyappa.
“All of our patients are chronic pain patients,” she says.
“[Most of these patients have] lower back pain, shoulder pain [and] neck pain.”
“At ACT Pain Centre our approach is to provide a multi-disciplinary treatment to manage chronic pain, complex acute pain conditions and cancer pain,” Kalpana says.
To help these patients manage their pain, the ACT Pain Centre has a range of specialists such as exercise physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
And, with a philosophy to promote active and self-management strategies, Kalpana says the centre runs a half-day, pain education program on the last Wednesday of every month, which covers topics such as medication, surgery, moving or exercising with pain, improving daily function and managing pain flare-ups.
Conveniently located next to Calvary Bruce Private Hospital, the ACT Pain Centre uses its facilities for its procedures, and due to an increased demand the ACT Pain Centre will be opening another practice in Deakin.
ACT Pain Centre, Suite 1, Calvary Private Clinic, 40 Mary Potter Circuit, Bruce. Call 6195 0180 or email email@example.com
Partnership means more support for members
ARTHRITIS ACT has recently joined forces with Pain Support ACT to help people living with all types of pain, says CEO Rebecca Davey.
“This means Pain Support ACT members have more access to support,” Rebecca says.
“In the past they were really only a support group with a monthly talk [but now] we can offer them discount services and a suite of allied health professionals.”
Offering a range of services from exercise classes to occupational therapy, Rebecca says Arthritis ACT can help Canberrans manage their chronic pain and improve their health and wellbeing.
“We have a solution-based counsellor who will work with [clients] on establishing pathways and networks to better support you in your pain journey,” Rebecca says.
“We [also] have self-help workshops and seminars regularly on topics relating to living well with pain conditions.”
In addition to pain management and occupational therapy, Rebecca says Arthritis ACT offers weight management advice, strength and balance classes.
“We run Canberra’s biggest hydrotherapy program at venues across Canberra to improve pain and increase exercise in an environment that reduces pain,” Rebecca says. “Our services can be utilised at any point in the pain journey.
“We have a lot of people that utilise our services after major surgery but the reality is most people would do better post surgery if they engaged in weight loss, exercise and social support prior to surgery.”
Arthritis ACT, Building 18, 170 Haydon Dr, Bruce. Call 1800 011041, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit arthritisact.org.au
Josh gets injured athletes moving again
CHRONIC pain and injuries will vary from person to person, which is why the owner of Dynamic Athletic Performance and Rehabilitation, Josh Strahorn, gives clients programs tailored to their needs.
“People come in with injuries such as rolled ankles, twisted knees and shoulder injuries,” Josh says.
From here Josh, a former Brumbies and AIS coach, prescribes programs which focus on factors such as age, gender, the sport they play and their ability.
The aim of the program, according to Josh, is to return the athlete back to sport stronger, faster and injury free.
“The program includes take home conditioning and flexibility sessions and suits beginners, intermediate or advanced athletes,” he says.
But Josh doesn’t just focus on rehabilitation and says Dynamic Athletic Performance and Rehabilitation offers athletic services such as group sessions, individual coaching and online programs.
“Exercise can be beneficial both physically and mentally,” Josh says, who believes everyone has the ability to reach their full potential.
“We [also] like to stay up to date with treatments and research.”
Dynamic Athletic Performance and Rehabilitation, 1 Bass Street, Queanbeyan. Call 0449 926165, email email@example.com or visit dynamicathletic.com.au
Mark looks for solutions from the feet up
WITH 30 years’ experience in podiatry, Dr Mark Clayton of The Healthy Foot in Dickson has been helping people identify and manage their podiatric pain and chronic foot injuries.
“Usually the feet are the compensators, they compensate for any abnormalities,” says Mark, who believes it’s possible for chronic foot pain, knee pain and hip pain to be linked.
“From my point of view, it’s good to start at the feet,” he says.
“If you adjust the feet correctly, the rest of the body can follow.”
As well as identifying and treating causes of podiatric discomfort or pain, Mark says The Healthy Foot can provide footwear advice, preventative care, aesthetic treatments and can create orthotics tailored to each individual’s needs.
He says they sell orthotic-friendly footwear in many styles, colours and sizes.
“[They are] a good quality shoe and people who wear them keep coming back,” he says.
The Healthy Foot, 1/151 Cowper Street, Dickson. Call 6262 8383 or visit thehealthyfoot.com.au
Sanne brings treatments home
CANBERRA Mobile Physio can help Canberrans manage their chronic pain in the comfort of their home, says owner Sanne Curran.
Sanne, who’s been a physiotherapist for about 20 years, says Canberra Mobile Physio can help provide services such as pain relief, mobility improvement, falls prevention and safety, respiratory conditions, tailored exercise programs and balance training.
But, Sanne says they also have a focus on the elderly and keeping them independent.
“Continuing to move and exercise is an important part of managing chronic pain for anyone but a lot of the elderly have arthritis, so strengthening and staying active is [especially] beneficial [for them],” she says.
Before Canberra Mobile Physio gets clients moving, Sanne says they first evaluate the client’s situation and their requirements, which can include checking medical history, strength and pain levels before developing a treatment plan based on personal needs and goals.
“We can look at what’s giving them pain in their everyday life by looking at the specifics, we can analyse the way they move and see if that is contributing to their pain,” she says.
“We look at what the reason is for pain and look at ways of minimising painful movements.”
Canberra Mobile Physio. Call 0415 351370, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit canberramobilephysio.com
Ben looks at pain from all angles
MOST people need a combination of interventions to manage their pain, says the director of Canberra Chiropractic, Dr Ben Schutte, who has been helping clients manage pain for about 30 years.
But, he says what’s most important when managing pain is what people do for themselves in conjunction with their healthcare adviser.
When it comes to pain at Canberra Chiropractic, Ben says the services they offer revolve around a series of adjustments along with prescribed exercises and advice on what behaviours to change.
“[This] usually includes being more active,” he says.
Ben says factors like stress, fear and a sedentary lifestyle can amplify pain.
“We know from recent neurophysiology studies that pain is actually an emotion which is generated in your brain,” he says.
“This occurs when the brain perceives that an injury has occurred.”
Ben says Canberra Chiropractic can also help people manage issues such as lower back pain, sciatica, upper-body pain, headaches, dizziness and sports injuries.
Canberra Chiropractic, Unit 5, 9 McKay Street, Turner. Call 6247 3388, email email@example.com or visit canberrachiropractic.com.au
Get to pain before it becomes chronic
WHEN it comes to pain, the Manuka Woden Physiotherapy and Sport Injury Clinic, can help manage it early before it turns into chronic pain, says owner Greg Nash.
Early management is key to prevent chronic conditions from developing, according to Greg, who says when it comes to sub-acute pain, it’s important to identify the painful area so they can then take the appropriate steps to help prevent chronic pain.
Once using tools to understand why the pain persists, Greg says the next step is education.
“We teach them about their problem and how to manage it,” he says
The Manuka Woden Physiotherapy and Sport Injury Clinic can help with injuries such as musculoskeletal injuries, neck and back pain, joint pain and injuries from work, car accidents or other sports.
Backed by a team of highly skilled physiotherapists, Greg says the Manuka and Woden clinics, which offer after hours services and onsite parking, are trusted by the community and deliver expert advice in the management of injuries.
“We take great pride in providing a personal experience for clients,” he says.
“We know them by name and they know us by name. [And we] don’t just treat the injury, we treat the person.”
Manuka Woden Physiotherapy Sports Injury Clinic, 2/26 Bougainville Street, Manuka, call 6295 6896 and 3/48 Corinna Street, Woden, call 6281 1382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org