21 July 2016
Self-managing chronic pain
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Painaustralia have produced a joint fact sheet to assist people suffering from chronic pain.
The fact sheet highlights that medicines alone are not the most effective way to treat chronic pain and that people managing their pain on a daily basis get the best results.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis, said the reality was that while chronic pain may never be completely cured, it could be managed and there were many self-management strategies that could help patients.
“Most of us experience pain from time to time, but for 20 per cent of people that pain simply doesn’t go away,” Mr Tambassis said.
“While medicines such as codeine or other opioids are sometimes prescribed for chronic pain, research has shown they are not effective in the longer term, contributing on average to only a 30 per cent reduction in pain.
“Evidence shows that people with chronic pain who are actively involved in managing their pain on a daily basis have less disability than those who are engaged in passive therapies, such as taking medication or surgery.”
Chief Executive Officer of Painaustralia, Lesley Brydon said it was important for people suffering from chronic pain to learn to manage their pain effectively without relying on medicines.
“Pain medicines come with unwanted side-effects such as nausea, drowsiness, constipation, mood change and difficulty in concentrating,” she said.
“In addition, patients can develop a tolerance to opioids and the dosage must be progressively increased to achieve the same pain-relieving effect.
“This joint fact sheet points out a range of non-medicine measures patients can adopt to help manage chronic pain.”
The fact sheet is available on the website of the Guild’s MedsASSIST program (the new real-time recording and monitoring system for medicines containing codeine) and is one tool available to pharmacists, including information about referral pathways, to assist patients with managing their pain better.