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Aussies turning their back on pain

Photo: Aussies turning their back on pain
  • Pain relief consumption in Australia has soared, with prescriptions of paracetamol rising from 4.8 million to 7.3 million in just five years.
  • 1 in 6 Australians suffer from back pain, the 3rd leading cause of disease burden in Australia.
  • Osteopaths are encouraging Australians to investigate better ways to prevent and manage their pain during Osteopathy Awareness Week (16-22 April).

When struggling with injuries, an increasing number of Australians are reaching for painkillers to seek relief from their aches and pains. With subsidised prescriptions of paracetamol increasing from 4.8 million in 2010[i] to 7.3 million in 2016, paracetamol is now the 4th most common drug prescribed in Australia[ii].

Back pain is the third leading cause of disease burden in Australia, impacting 1 in 6 Australians[iii]. The workplace is a common cause of musculoskeletal injuries with 34% of workplace claims resulting from back pain, followed by 29.8% from shoulder and knee injuries[iv].
Osteopathy Australia CEO, Antony Nicholas, says that it’s not surprising that the use of painkillers have been increasing.

“It’s easy to be confused about when you should see a healthcare professional. People often think pain is normal and don’t understand how the body works. For example, a pain in the knee might actually stem from a back problem. You may not notice your jaw clenching is causing you those migraines,” he says. 

Osteopaths, who can be accessed directly without referral, focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health and well-being. They commonly treat patients who present with sports injuries, headaches and migraines, whiplash, postural problems, sciatica, knee and heel pain, arthritis and occupational injuries.

“Osteopathy isn’t just about bones and musculoskeletal pain – osteopaths treat more than you think.”

With painkillers currently under scrutiny for their potential side effects and the impacts that over-use can have on our bodies[v], osteopaths are urging Australians to review their use of painkillers and seek advice to investigate the cause of their muscle and bone pains.

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