National Pain Week – Chemist Broadway & Bondi
This week is National Pain Week when we look at the burden of pain, in particular chronic pain, on the community.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for 3 months or more after the normal healing time. Unlike acute pain, which usually resolves when the underlying cause heals or is treated, chronic pain is a complex condition associated with changes to the way the brain perceives pain.
This Brainman Video explains the difference between acute and chronic pain
Because chronic pain is different to acute pain the medications that are used are different. Many people in Australia develop medication problems because they continue to use medicines helpful for acute pain such as opiates (eg codeine, tramadol, morphine) that may eventually make chronic pain worse. Opiates can cause severe constipation, dizziness (leading to falls) and respiratory depression. For certain people opiates are highly addictive and when combined with other medicines can cause death. In some people continuous use of opiates can lead to “hyperalgesia” or more pain which is why they are not always the best option for managing chronic pain.
Managing chronic pain is much more than managing medicines. It involves looking at lifestyle issues that may be aggravating pain such as insomnia, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet, smoking, alcohol use. It also involves learning how to manage flare ups and how to pace yourself to minimize pain.
At Fresh Therapeutics we try to work with the person suffering from chronic pain and their GP, physiotherapist and mental health professionals to produce the best results for the person living with chronic pain. We offer a Chronic Pain Medscheck service to eligible patients where we:
- Discuss any of your pain concerns
- Ensure your medicines are working for you
- Work with you to create an action plan for improvement
- Help you gain an understanding of your pain journey
We also use material developed by NSW Health and the Agency for Clinical Innovation that can be accessed on the internet – https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chronic-pain/chronic-pain The website is designed to help people gain a better understanding of pain. information to enable people to develop skills and knowledge in the self management of pain in partnership with healthcare providers.
We also refer to the Chronic Pain Australia a self-help organisation that helps people engage with others suffering from chronic pain http://chronicpainaustralia.org.au
For some patients taking medicines orally can cause more problems. We have pain specialists that ask us to compound certain pain medicines in a “transdermal” cream or gel. We can combine several drugs in the one cream. These are designed to have a local effect and minimise whole of body side effects.