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National Pain Week

Chronic pain is arguably Australia, and the world’s fastest-growing medical condition, affecting 1 in 5 Australians, including adolescents and children. National Pain Week is an annual awareness event coordinated by Chronic Pain Australia to help raise awareness of this disease and to let the community know that they do not need to suffer in silence.

People living with chronic pain often feel isolated by their pain. The aim of National Pain Week is to remind friends, family and professionals that connection is key to addressing the social isolation that pain can create.

What is chronic pain

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts weeks to years despite medication or treatment. The pain may be caused by inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. The pain can be there all the time, or it may come and go and can happen anywhere in your body.

Although chronic pain can be a symptom or a known illness or injury it can also exist without a clear reason at all. Sometimes the long-term nature of the pain is not indicating ongoing disease or damage.

Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities, such as working, having a social life and taking care of yourself or others. It can lead to depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping, which can make your pain worse. This response creates a cycle that’s difficult to break.

Where do people experience chronic pain?

Chronic pain can come in different forms and can begin without any obvious cause. For many people, it starts after an injury or because of a health condition like arthritis, or joint pain, back or neck pain, cancer pain near a tumour, headaches or migraines, testicular pain, lasting pain in scar tissue, muscle pain all over and neurogenic pain. But people can also have chronic pain that’s not tied to an injury or physical illness.

Many people live with chronic pain 24/7 and just put up with the pain. This can become draining and has an impact on all parts of a person’s life. Living with the pain takes courage and strength because the pain is unpredictable.

Diagnosing chronic pain

Pain is subjective and only the person experiencing the pain can explain it, which makes it difficult for doctors to identify the cause. The first step is to determine how long the pain has lasted and whether it is recurring. Describing where the pain is, how intense it is and whether you experience any stress and anxiety will be the point of discussion with your doctor, followed by X-Rays, MRI’s or CT scans if any treatment is not working.

How to get involved

Living in pain is unpleasant and demotivating. It leaves people in dark places, not enjoying their life to the fullest. Chronic Pain Australia encourage all those living with pain to share their stories and connect with each other about their struggles and managing techniques. Help raise awareness for the 3.2 million Australians living with chronic pain and let them know about the support and resources available for them to get help. Encourage people to speak about their pain and seek help, rather than suffering in silence.

Chronic Pain Australia are a non-profit organization committed to making medicines more affordable and need funding for ongoing research and treatments.

Summary

No Australian living with persistent pain should suffer alone or without access to resources and information which may help them efficiently manage their pain. Stay updated, keep learning, keep using your voice to raise awareness about your pain and for the people who just handle it. Get involved in fundraising initiatives and support groups. Be there for the people who have lost hope, share your stories, teach people coping mechanisms, and connect with others, but most importantly connect with yourself.

Sources:

https://www.nationalpainweek.org.au/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4798-chronic-pain

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/chronic-pain-syndrome-overview