INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
If you are in pain right now, you are not alone. Many population based studies confirm, at any one time around the world, 20 percent or 1 in 5 people have pain that has persisted for longer than 3 months. If we think about Australia, based on current figures, the number of people living with persistent pain is equal to the entire population of Queensland – about 4.6 million people!! To then consider the money spent on treatments, lost work time and the impact on peoples’ quality of life and even loss of life, it can feel overwhelming.
There is a pain revolution underway and Launceston Integrated Pain Service can provide up to date education and treatment which will result in a reduction in pain and improved functioning.
WHAT IS PERSISTENT PAIN?
Its fair to say that no one wants pain, particularly pain which hangs around and doesn't resolve as we would expect after an injury, disease, surgery or other cause. Persistent pain refers to pain that has been around for more than 3 months or so. You may have heard other terms used to describe your pain condition such as: Chronic pain, neuralgia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or phantom pain. In many cases when pain persists, it is difficult to identify the actual cause of the pain. Pain may continue to be produced, despite a sound healing process. Over time it is believed persistent pain becomes less related to identifiable tissue damage or a structural or anatomical problem and more related to nervous system changes which promote ongoing pain production.
When pain goes on for a long time, it can change a person's life. Someone who is living with persistent pain may go out and do less, may think "I'll never be able to do the things I really want to do" and may feel very worried and depressed. Scientists have discovered that a person's thoughts, feelings and actions will effect pain production.
Where there is no identifiable cause, persistent pain is the combination of potential nervous system changes promoting ongoing pain production despite healing and how we might be making sense of and responding to these changes.
WHY PAIN EDUCATION?
International guidelines suggest patients who are provided with contemporary education about pain biology, experience a reduction in fear and overconcern about their pain experience. Pain biology education or "explaining pain" aims to reconceptualise pain as a protective output of the brain, rather than an accurate measure of tissue damage. Explaining pain asserts that pain is changeable and treatable. Explaining pain presents a framework to understand pain based on biological processes that are well accepted in the pain science community. Only recently has this framework been introduced to people in pain. Experimental studies are demonstrating that pain biology education changes pain related attitudes and beliefs and reduces overly negative thinking about ones symptoms and prognosis. Pain biology education can also increase ones pain threshold and reduce pain and disability.
We believe pain biology education or "explaining pain" is an essential component in ones pain rehabilitation which promotes an active recovery whilst working towards the ultimate goal of pain reducation.
WHAT IS PAIN MANAGEMENT?
Persistent pain is complex. Inevitably great effort has already been dedicated to seeking pain relief through a range of treatment approaches, procedures and medications, with poor results. It is also inevitable some not so helpful pain coping behaviours have developed. It is in this instance when an integrated inter disciplinary team approach should be considered as an option, to develop your pain managment skills.
At Launceston Integrated Pain Service our pain management program involves the important combination of movement or activity engagement, the development of pain biology knowledge and the development of a personal awareness of those individual thoughts, feelings, actions and environments, influencing pain production. These important interacting domains are covered in the our interactive program "Recovery Highway". Involvement in the program will include the development of an individualised activity or exercise program in order to assist in both your physical re conditioning and nervous system adaptation or re training. You will be supported to participate in this component of the program by highly skilled physiotherapists. A combination of motivational interviewing and cognitive behavourial principles will guide all interactions. This will assist to influence unhelpful thoughts and beliefs related to your pain experience and resultant emotional distress whilst developing new understandings about pain biology, healing systems and the potential for sound pain coping. A range of pain managment skills or strategies will be presented to enhance your pain coping repertoire. The important areas of stress management, sleep management, diet, medication use, goal setting, problem solving and more will be addressed. Experimental studies demonstrate that a team of skilled health practitioners, working together with you, providing pain biology education, functional restoration and cognitive behavourial and motivational treatments are the most effective in reducing pain and improving function.
Whilst it may not be possible to always achieve complete pain relief, we believe improved functioning and a significant reduction in pain is very achievable. For more detail on the program click here.