Addressing Barriers to Chronic Pain Treatment in Australia

Hayley attended the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva in 2018. She is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia and is currently a physiotherapist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and a pain science tutor at UniSA.​​​​​​​ 


Chronic pain imposes a significant social and economic burden on the individual and the Australian community. There is a large gap between the volume of pain science knowledge generated through research and the application of that research in current policy and community settings. As a result, healthcare professionals do not receive adequate training in pain assessment and treatment, funding systems do not effectively meet needs in primary or tertiary care, and societal myths that encourage detrimental behaviour and increase fear and anxiety perpetuate. 

This paper will review the current state of pain management in Australia; consider international efforts to change the way the concept of pain is taught, classified and funded and; propose recommendations to align clinician and community views with a contemporary, biopsychosocial understanding of pain, with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes and reducing the economic and social impact of chronic pain.

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