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Active pain management winning over Australians

Photo: Active pain management winning over Australians
Pain associated with the musculoskeletal system impacts one in three Australians[1] and while chronic pain is the most common reason that people seek medical help, it remains one of the most misunderstood areas of healthcare.

Chronic pain can disrupt the quality of life and become debilitating. A third of patients who experience chronic pain (31%) will experience higher levels of psychological distress, one in five (20%) will suffer from depression and the probability of early retirement because of pain-related disability increases by 40%2.
Osteopath, Dr Michelle Funder says, “Chronic pain can affect people of all ages, races and genders and one in five GP consultations involves a patient suffering with chronic pain.

“Australians suffering from chronic pain can often feel invisible or helpless as their diagnosis may not meet medical definitions of what constitutes an illness. This leaves the patient feeling at a loss for an explanation for their pain and therefore a management plan to help them.
“Chronic pain patients can often fall through the cracks of the medical industry and have multiple doctors and practitioners telling them conflicting advice,” says Dr Funder.

Treating chronic pain may involve a wide range of medications, therapies and invasive surgeries, which can cause side effects to arise. However, Australians are now increasingly choosing non-medicated pain treatments with pain being the most significant reason patients present for osteopathic treatment.

President of Osteopathy Australia, Dr Bill Adamson says, “An osteopath can form a diagnosis and prognosis to help someone feel better. If the condition is deemed to be a musculoskeletal issue, the osteopath will help the person understand what is happening under the skin.”

Osteopaths are trained to understand how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation function as a unified body and osteopaths develop a treatment plan based on the sources of pain.

Dr Funder says, “It is so important to get a good health team on your side, which may comprise a GP, Psychologist, Osteopath or Exercise Physiologist. Once you have a health team you can trust, you will be helping yourself to reduce your pain experience.”

By looking at the underlying causes of chronic pain along with individual lifestyle factors, Osteopaths can create a personalised and holistic treatment plan. During Osteopathy Awareness Week (14–20 April), Osteopathy Australia is encouraging Australians to seek relief by opting for non-medicated treatments and to #GiveOsteoAGo.

“A good medical practitioner will take a thorough history and listen to the symptoms you are experiencing, they will assess you and make the best clinical judgement for a treatment plan or if further tests or a referral is required. You can consult with your local GP and visit www.osteopathy.org.au for more information,” says Dr Funder.

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