‘People tell me they don’t want to be on medication’: Chronic pain Q&A session

Pain is one of the most common reasons Australian’s seek medical help, yet experts say it is one of the most misunderstood areas of healthcare.

People tell me they don’t want to be on medication.

Pphysiologist Heidi Clarke

Wollongong-based exercise physiologist Heidi Clarke said as many as one in five Australians live with chronic pain, and she will be visiting the region next month to help find solutions for residents with ongoing pain issues.

“Pain is normal, it is a protective thing, but when it becomes persistent then it isn’t normal,” Ms Clarke said.

“When it becomes persistent after three or four months then it is defined as chronic.

“That kind of pain can even break up relationships.”

Ms Clarke will be joined by psychologist John Littleton and chronic pain educator Terry Stewart at the Eden Fishermen’s Club’s Captains Room on Sunday, December 9 from 4.30pm for a free question and answer session on pain management hosted by Effective Pain Solutions.

“Down here you have to travel to Canberra, Sydney or even use Skype to be involved in any pain groups or see pain specialists,” Ms Clarke said.

Ms Clarke said the sessions aim to help residents with chronic pain issues to “minimise flair ups” and reduce their fear of physical movement.

“There’s many safe activities which provide self-management tools,” she said.

“There are things other than pain medication you can turn to. There are other things up your sleeve.

“People tell me they don’t want to be on medication, but they feel they don’t have any other option.

“Medication can be a necessary evil, but we don’t want people to fall back on medication when things get bad.”

Her ethos is “doing something is better than doing nothing”.

“Things like exercise are also good for your mental health,” she said.

“Also spread things out and try to minimise flair ups.

“It might mean mowing your lawn in sections.

“Unfortunately it is the nature of the beast. You have to live with your pain.”