Chronic pain

Chronic pain is defined as daily pain for a period of three months or more in the past six months.

One in five Australians, including children and adolescents, will experience chronic pain in their lifetime and up to 80 per cent of people living with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their health and quality of life.

National Pain Strategy

A National Pain Strategy has been developed which argues that there are vast gains to be made in the management of chronic pain through prevention, community awareness, early intervention and better access to pain management services.

Model of care in SA

A new Model of Care for Chronic Pain Management in South Australia has also been developed and implemented to ensure people in South Australia experiencing chronic pain receive fully integrated pain management services across the community, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.

The Model of Care for Chronic Pain Management in South Australia aims at improving the delivery of pain management services to South Australians by delivering:

  • A state-wide referral pathway to improve access to services and reduce waiting list times
  • Improved integration of interdisciplinary care and services across all levels
  • Improved operational capacity
  • A blueprint through which to improve collaborative and effective working relationships between the primary, secondary and tertiary health systems, particularly in regard to planning future services, data collection and reporting
  • Greater awareness by consumers and health professionals about chronic pain, treatment options and how to access services.

Managing chronic pain

For people experiencing persistent pain, it is important to recognise and address it as early as possible in order to reduce the risk of developing chronic pain. Self-management and primary care services can help improve the quality of life of most people experiencing chronic pain without having to attend specialist hospital services.

A recent survey undertaken by SA Health showed that around 20% of the respondents did not access any local services to manage their chronic pain and less than 5% of people with chronic pain reported using any online self-management resources to manage their condition.

A range of free and low cost, easily accessible pain management resources are available to help South Australians better manage their condition, including:

  • Local programs and resources
  • Toolkits for self-help
  • High quality online pain resources

If you suffer from severe pain, your GP may refer to or seek advice from a specialist service.

Information for health practitioners