National Pain Week 2023: Breaking chronic pain stigma

National Pain Week 2023 aims to raise awareness about the silent burden of chronic pain in Australia. With 3.6 million Australians enduring this invisible condition, it’s crucial to address the stigma associated with seeking help and support for chronic pain.

The themes for this year’s National Pain Week, ‘Let them know how strong you are’ and ‘Painchanger,’ are a powerful call-to-action to break down the barriers that prevent people from discussing their chronic pain and accessing care.

NSW Regional Health Partners has been working alongside partner Chronic Pain Australia to develop research to improve access to evidence-based pain management treatments in regional and rural areas. Challenges to access evidence-based services in regional and rural areas was a recognised barrier identified in a recent patient journey mapping workshop hosted by NSW Regional Health Partners.  

Liz Worboys, who attended the session, has shared her experiences living with chronic pelvic and back pain for over 20 years.

“My painchanger has been acknowledging that my pain is real and managing it on a daily basis using a variety of different health strategies, including consulting health professionals, utilising medications, and making modifications to my life according to my pain levels,” Liz shared.

Having experienced the isolation of dealing with pain alone, Liz now aims to be a voice and advocate for others facing similar struggles. “… I want people to know that you are not alone, there is a community of people who are living daily with chronic pain, and by asking for help, you too can find your own support team,” she adds.  

Liz’s advocacy extends to regional, rural, and remote areas, where accessing resources and healthcare teams can be particularly challenging. Liz is now working with NSW Regional Health Partners to design research that aims to make access to services and supports easier for others.

Nicolette Hodyl, Director of NSWRHP, expresses NSW Regional Health Partners’ commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of those living with chronic pain.

“We are aware of the impact chronic pain has on individuals and their communities. Through our partnership with Chronic Pain Australia, and working with NSW Health’s Agency for Clinical Innovation, we are working to address the gaps for those in regional and rural areas to access pain management supports to improve the lives of those experiencing chronic pain.”

Follow the link for events and resources from Chronic Pain Australia.