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Friday, January 22, 2021

National Pain Week looks to the ‘faces of pain’

It’s National Pain Week from 27 July to 2 August, and the focus this year is on the ‘faces of pain’: the 3.2 million Australians currently living with chronic pain.

During Pain Week, Chronic Pain Australia is encouraging all Australians to learn about pain and how to manage it, as well as to develop a better understanding of what it feels like to live with the condition.

“We chose this theme because our community often speak of the stigma associated with chronic pain and the challenges they face because others can’t relate or understand what life is like with persistent pain,” said national president Jarrod McMaugh.

He said chronic pain can often be misunderstood by the wider community, with many people under the impression chronic pain means extreme pain. The term ‘chronic’ refers to how long the pain lasts rather than the severity, although chronic pain can also be severe. Chronic Pain Australia defines pain as chronic if it persists for longer than three months.

“It is also different to acute pain which is the pain many of us have experienced from time to time. We hurt ourselves, experience pain, then heal and the pain goes away,” Mr McMaugh said.

“Chronic pain is not in this category, it can last years or a lifetime. It can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, their mental wellbeing and their ability to work, form relationships, and live a fulfilling life.”

The organisation has released a video series, available on the National Pain Week website, that takes a look into the lives of people living with chronic pain. The videos have come from around the county, from people of different ages, backgrounds and experiences with chronic pain.

“We’re really hopeful that the video series can give people who don’t live with pain an insight into what a day living with pain looks like and how everyday activities we all encounter in life can be made harder or impossible for someone living with chronic pain,” Mr McMaugh said.

“We also want the video series to act as a source of inspiration for people currently living with pain to learn from their peers and to know that they aren’t alone in their pain journey.”

Chronic Pain Australia has also developed a booklet to explain what chronic pain is, and how best to manage it alongside healthcare professionals.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts