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Your Stories

Dave: Doctor with pain

daveI'd survived the traumas of a major motor car accident, the ignominity of a prostatectomy, and the despair and exasperation of three separate cancers and their harsh therapies, but nothing had prepared me for the greatest challenge of my life, dealing with chronic pain


Kelli: Autoimmune Disease

neural image webWhen I was 25, I was living life to the full. Then, literally overnight, I became ill. It was 15 April 1998, a date I will never forget, when I woke up in severe pain.  I had to crawl on my elbows and knees to go to the bathroom. I had pain in all my joints – it even hurt to breathe.



Maria: Stress-induced migraine


I've suffered migraine for about 12 years. Originally I would have a migraine

almost every day, so now I consider myself lucky to get just two a week.



Olivia: Endometriosis


I've suffered bad period pain since I was 15, but it wasn't until my late 20s when

I was diagnosed with endometriosis.




Sneeze led to neck pain

gerard"Fortunately", the pain from my neck injury was so severe that it was taken seriously from the start.

I have chronic pain from several sources but the most serious and debilitating resulted from a herniated disc at C6-7 caused by, of all things, a coughing spasm.


Deb: Reaching under a bed

debI woke up one morning in 1988 with a sore back.As the pain continued to increase, I consulted my general practitioner who referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. After some tests, I was told that there were no problems and that the pain should go away. It didn't.


Peter: Struck by lightning

peterMy first taste of pain and injury was when I was only three years old.We had a car accident and I had my lower lumbar joints damaged as well as whiplash injuries to my neck. No one knew this at the time, though, and by the time I was nine I was having X-rays on my back to find out why I was in so much pain.


Peter: Accident at work

PeterPanandfamilyIt happened on 28 August 2008 at 8.28am. Everything after that is a bit of a blur, but the moment the accident happened will be stuck in my memory forever.



Eliza*: The right diagnosis changed my life

neural image web

Prior to becoming a chronic pain sufferer, that is, someone who experiences daily pain for three months or more, I had led a busy life. Post pain, it has been devastating to have to adjust to a vastly different life.



Juliet: Inherited pain condition

neural image web

My pain symptoms started when my menstrual cycle began, at the age of 12. I had blinding pain in my pelvic region, sweating and nausea associated with menstruation. As I got older I also experienced intense back pain, and I would often blackout.



Margaret: Hurt Shopping

margaretThat Friday in June 1990 began like any other Friday – two adults, three teenagers, family pets, all heading out. I was totally unaware that this was the day "Super Mum" would die and life as I knew it would be over.



Aileen: Hurt lifting files

aileenMy injury happened over two days – August 30-31, 2001 – when I was asked to reorganise the office's new filing system.


Symantha: Chronic migraines

samAs a chronic migraine sufferer I've lived with pain since I was a small child. With the help of sub-occipital electrodes and an implanted pulse generator (IPG implant) I can now manage my daily pain and rely less on heavy medications.


Marie: Cycling accidents

marieI had two major cycling accidents in the 1980s which caused a spinal fracture and severe whiplash.I quickly got over the accidents and was fine until the early 1990s when I started to have migraines. This gradually progressed to daily migraines by 1996.


Gabrielle*: Chronic migraine

neural image web

I suffer from chronic severe migraine. It started 20 years ago and became a daily

occurrence in 1996, from the time I had two cycling accidents.



Charmian: Pacing

My pain journey began in 198Charmian6 when I was 17. Unrelated to any incident, I began to experience extreme back pain. I later discovered it was a degenerative disease with no cure, but at the time I thought it could just be 'fixed'.




Injury caused by phone

mandyMy problems started in the early 1980s with the introduction of computers in most public service departments.In 1986,


Danielle: Childhood pain

danielleIt was during a long jump attempt at my school's athletics try-outs when I was nine that I first hurt myself.As usual, I ran and jumped but as I hit the sand I felt pain in what I thought was my ankle.


Elisabeth: Herniated disc


For the past four years I've been struggling to cope with a herniated disc condition,

which has not improved much, despite me taking positive action and trying to manage it. The condition gives me severe back pain, which I feel almost every day and every night.



Trevor: Injured lifting a child

trevorI injured my neck in 1993 while attending a Scout Jamboree in Canada as a carer for a child with cerebral palsy.My pain symptoms didn't really show up until 1997 when I started getting lots of neck and arm pain.

Janet: Crushed by a tree

janetSeptember 23, 2006 was a beautiful, still, sunny autumn day.I was in the UK to visit my elderly mother and other family members and had taken the train to London to visit a friend.


Harry: Pain in Children

Harry PerkinsHarry Perkins, son of Olympic champion swimmer and Painaustralia Director Kieren Perkins OAM, was diagnosed with chronic migraine at the tender age of eleven.


Elizabeth: Managing pain

elizabethI was an advisory teacher when I suffered a spinal injury in 2007 that landed me in a Brisbane hospital emergency department.Thanks to a neurosurgeon, I regained the use of my left leg and the crushing pain eased.

Daniel: Car Accident

danielBefore my accident, about six years ago, I worked at a prestige car dealership in Brisbane. This work was physically demanding as well as being quite social. We all had to get on well as it could be quite a pressured environment and humour often kept us going.


Jacqueline: Hip Pain

Jacqueline Emmett

One day in Year 8 I was playing with some classmates when I hurt my hip. Stuck on the ground and unable to get up, I was taken to hospital by ambulance, but doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me.



Renée: Car accident

reneeIn 1962 at the age of 21, Renée was involved in a serious car accident that kept her in an English hospital - in a 40-bed geriatric ward - for nearly two years.


Jill: Breast cancer pain

jillBreast cancer is a diagnosis heard all too often these days at 13,000 diagnoses a year in Australia.


Wanda: Back injury at work

wandaI first incurred a serious back injury at work in 1985. It was not able to be evidence-based for five years (at the time of surgery).


Katia: Sport injury

katiaI was nine years old when I damaged the ligaments in my left leg in a hurdling accident.After a year of treatment my leg hadn't healed – in fact the pain had worsened and I was diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome.



Painaustralia eNews Issue 41, 22 April 2014



Pain, Sex, Friends and Your Mother2014 Living well with Pain Poster - final


The Living Well With Pain Consumer Symposium and Forum hosted by Painaustralia and the Australian Pain Society in Hobart this month, attracted over 70 attendees to hear about the latest research and information on pain and effective pain management and clues about why researchers are still struggling to find answers for people living with pain.

Professor Jeffrey Mogil, Canada Research Chair in Genetics of Pain at McGill University in Montreal, was one of several experts who addressed the meeting with a presentation entitled Pain, Sex, Friends and Your Mother.

With 500 forms of pain identified by the International Association for the Study of Pain, and many of these complex, disabling, and difficult to diagnose and treat, he explained that one of the most challenging aspects of chronic pain is the personal, subjective nature of the disease.

He said the challenge with studying pain is that unlike with cancer research, the affected tissue usually can't be removed from the body – making it far more difficult to study.

"In the case of pain, what has gone wrong is usually located in the nervous system and the brain, so of course we can't remove them. We have to find better ways of studying pain, and factors such as our genetic inheritance, sex and social environment are key."

Other speakers included Professor Michael Nicholas, Director of the ADAPT Pain Management Program at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital; Dr Richard Sullivan, Pain Specialist from the Precision Pain Clinic in Melbourne which is now also running services in Tasmania; and Megan Willing, Physiotherapist at Hobart's Persistent Pain Clinic.

The symposium was held in conjunction with the Australian Pain Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.

Early intervention on arthritis could save billions


An expert report spearheaded by Arthritis Australia has revealed Australia could save hundreds of millions of dollars by providing early and better treatment for people with arthritis, which will enable them to remain at work.

The report, Time to Move, is a national collaborative policy white paper, which outlines an achievable strategy for improving care for people with arthritis. Prepared in consultation with healthcare professionals, consumers and related organisations, the strategy addresses osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which together affect almost 2.5 million Australians.

It has been estimated that early retirement due to arthritis costs $9.4 billion a year in lost GDP, and costs our health and welfare systems more than $5 billion a year.

CEO of Arthritis Australia Ainslie Cahill says the white paper highlights the fact that care for people with arthritis in Australia falls short of best practice and urgent improvements are needed.

"Comprehensive and effective management of arthritis involves a team of healthcare professionals from various disciplines, including GPs, physiotherapists and rheumatologists," said Ms Cahill.

"Having multidisciplinary healthcare teams available to improve an individual's overall functioning, along with equitable access to best care across the country, will help to preserve and improve quality of life for people with arthritis."

New nurse clinics to tackle chronic painAMLA

The Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AML Alliance), through the Commonwealth Department of Health, has focused on chronic pain in two of its nine Advancing Nurse Clinics in Primary Care (ANCPC) projects.

Country North SA Medicare Local (CNSAML) is establishing nurse clinics to improve pain assessment and management in Whyalla, South Australia, and this will include an Aboriginal health service.

The project aims to facilitate coordinated care and improve patient self-management, reducing the need for patients to travel hundreds of kilometres to the Pain Management Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), which has a wait list of up to three years.

It also aims to reduce the number of after-hours hospital presentations by pain sufferers in the vast CNSAML region, which covers the entire north and west of South Australia, beyond the northern metropolitan area, and has a population of 200,000.

In Victoria, Grampians Medicare Local will be delivering pain assessment and management as part of the education and training for the nurse clinics they are establishing in relation to musculoskeletal disease management. The project will provide skills development for nurses, and use best practice guidelines, resources, referral pathways and assessment tools to support clinics. Grampians ML covers a large regional rural area from Ballan in Victoria to the South Australian border, which includes 12 municipalities including the rural areas of Horsham, Ararat and Ballarat.

The ANCPC projects are being documented and resources will be shared with all Medicare Locals to enable transferability of the clinics in other regions.

For more information, contact Jo Millard, Senior Project Officer Nursing in General Practice

The Land's Forum highlights need for consumer education on chronic pain

This month's Friday Forum, hosted by The Land newspaper in collaboration with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), highlighted the need for better education on chronic pain for consumers in rural and regional areas.Rural Health Older Men


The online forum focused on the relationship between chronic pain and mental health, and conversations with participants included depression and pain; the differences between acute and chronic pain; multidisciplinary pain management for chronic pain; and the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicines.

Ms Carrigan, CEO of the Australian Pain Management Association and a member of the panel, said participants had no prior knowledge of multidisciplinary pain management.

 "It was clear they weren't aware of multidisciplinary pain clinics or how to access them, and they really weren't aware that chronic pain is very different from acute pain, and requires the long-term support of a team of health professionals," she said.


"It was definitely worthwhile and I hope this topic will come up again, because there really is a huge need for education in rural and remote areas."

The rest of the panel included Vice President of the Rural Doctors Association of NSW Dr Emma Cunningham; Director of Aghealth Australia Associate Professor Tony Lower; and Occupational Therapist Gemma Nixon.

Participants were men and women from remote and regional areas, seeking information for themselves as well as for family members.


The Land, a leading regional NSW paper, in partnership with the RAMHP, hosts live online forums to talk about mental health, on the first Friday of every month. Forums are facilitated by the University of Wollongong.


To find out more, read the National Rural Health Alliance Fact Sheet on Chronic Pain


Western NSW benefits from pain specialistDrIanThong

Bathurst GP, Dr Ian Thong has just completed his training as a Pain Specialist at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and as a new Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, is now bringing his knowledge to a clinic at Orange, in rural NSW, with plans to do the same at Bathurst and Lithgow.

Committed to improving the delivery of pain services to the local community, he is particularly passionate about rural Australia.

"Rural patients deserve the same care as our city patients," said Dr Thong. "By bringing the services to the country these patients no longer have to travel as far, usually at great expense financially, physically and emotionally."

Dr Thong was also involved in developing the new Pain Management Network website, which aims to empower consumers and healthcare professionals working in the community setting, with the latest information about chronic pain.


The multidisciplinary pain clinic at Orange, is part of the NSW Government's commitment to improving access to pain services and information, across the state. Dr Thong plans to open similar clinics in Bathurst and Lithgow.

Abuse-resistant OxyContin available, but multidisciplinary pain management remains the key

A new absue-resistant version of OxyContin – also known as 'hillbilly heroin' – has been introduced into Australian pharmacies.

While this will help to combat abuse of the painkiller, more needs to be done to ensure opioids are not being used at the first-line of treatment for pain management.OxyContin

The old OxyContin tablets had become one of the most abused prescription medicines – crushed for injection or sniffing – but the new tablets turn into a marshmallow-like blob when hit with a hammer, and become a gel too thick to inject, when mixed with water.

According to an article published in The Australian, it has been estimated almost half of drug users in injecting rooms have been using OxyContin, and addicts have been holding up pharmacies in order to obtain the medication.

In 2011, a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia revealed oxycodone prescriptions have been rising, and that some of this increase could be attributed to non-medical use.

While this intervention should also go some way towards relieving the stigma associated with use of pain medication by people loving with chronic pain, the more urgent need is to improve access to multidisciplinary pain management services for these people.

Multidisciplinary pain management is now widely acknowledged as the most effective way to treat chronic pain, while opioids are increasingly understood as being unsuitable for the treatment of long-term pain, for most people.

To find out more, read this ABC News story

University of Queensland attracts $48 million for new pain treatmentUniversity of QLD

An Australian company developing a chronic pain treatment based on research at The University of Queensland (UQ) has attracted US$45 million (AU$48M) to advance development of the drug, EMA401.

The deal represents one of Australia's largest off-market investments in a private biotechnology company.

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, which was founded in 2005 by UQ's main commercialisation company UniQuest, has attracted Series C financing from a syndicate of investors, including Danish venture capital firm Novo A/S and US-based investors Canaan Partners.

EMA401 is based on research led by Professor Maree Smith from UQ's Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The funds will be used to progress clinical trials of EMA401 as an oral treatment for neuropathic and inflammatory pain, without central nervous system side effects.

Affecting more than 1.5 million people worldwide, neuropathic pain and also inflammatory pain are most commonly associated with cancer chemotherapy, post-herpetic neuralgia (a painful condition that develops in some patients following shingles), diabetes, peripheral nerve injury and osteoarthritis. Read more here

Poor sleep a risk factor for pain in older adultsGrumpy-old-man

Non-restorative sleep is the strongest independent predictor for developing widespread pain among adults over the age of 50, according to new research.

The study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, also found existing pain, anxiety, memory impairment and poor physical health among older adults also increase the risk of developing widespread pain, which is pain that affects multiple areas of the body – the hallmark feature of fibromyalgia.

Led by Dr John McBeth from the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University, the research team collected data from 4,326 adults over 50 who were free of widespread pain at the start of the study (1,562 had no pain at all) and 2,764 had some pain), and followed them up three years later.

At follow-up, almost 19 per cent reported new widespread pain, and almost 85 per cent of these had reported some pain at the beginning of the study.

Increasing age, however, was associated with a decreased likelihood of the development of widespread pain.

Dr McBeth concluded, "Combined interventions that treat both site-specific and widespread pain are needed for older adults."

Nonsurgical approach to knee osteoarthritis shows significant Improvements

A nonsurgical approach to treating chronic pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis of the knee has demonstrated significant, lasting improvements in pain, function and stiffness, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Journal Of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

The treatment was delivered in a series of injections into and around the knee joint, a treatment called prolotherapy, using dextrose and morrhuate sodium solutions. Prolotherapy allows the body to use its own natural healing mechanisms to repair injured and painful joint areas.

In the one-year study, patients who received at least three of the injections showed symptom improvement ranging from 19.5 to 42.9 per cent, compared with the baseline study, and scores exceeded the minimum for a 'clinically important difference' in 50 to 75 per cent of patients.

The study was conducted by Dr David Rbaago and a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in association with Meriter Health Services.

2014 ADMA National Conference: Call for Abstracts
ADMA Image

The Australian Disease Management Association is calling for abstracts for its National Conference, to be held 11-12 September 2014 in Melbourne.

Drawing together healthcare staff, service providers, researchers, administrators and state and federal policy makers, the conference provides a forum to network with speakers and other delegates and share knowledge with colleagues.

The program will include workshops, poster and paper sessions. Deadline for abstracts is 2 May 2014.

For more information, click here




Shades of Pain Art Exhibition

Art Exhibition and community event including entertainment, guest speakers, workshop and family activities.

When: 27 April – 3 May

Venue: Liddiard Gallery & Convention Centre, Oakley, Melbourne
For more information click here

Painaustralia AGM

This year's AGM will be held at Parliament House in Canberra. Highlights of the meeting will be presentations by Australian Government Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Baggoley AO, and Chair of Health Economics at the University of Sydney Professor Deborah Schofield.

When: 29 April, 11.30am-2.30pm (registration from 11am)

Venue: The Theatre, Parliament House Canberra
For more information and booking, click here

SNAP: Chronic Pain Support Group for Young Adults

SNAP is a monthly support group for young adults aged under 35.

When: First Saturday of every month, starting 10 May 2014

Venue: Coffee on Main, Easts Leagues Club, 40 Main Avenue, Coorparoo, Brisbane

More information: www.facebook/apma4u

Pain Management in Practice Workshops

Pain Management in Practice is delivering interdisciplinary one-day and two-day workshops across Australia, to provide training to clinicians and return-to-work professionals who manage people with persistent pain, in order to maximise work and personal function.

When: 8 May (Brisbane), 19 June (Sydney), 24-25 July (Melbourne), 11 September (Brisbane), 30 October (Sydney)

For more information visit

Primary Health Care Research Conference

The PHC Conference is widely acknowledged as the premier research and networking conference in Australia, the place to promote your organisation and work to the primary health care research community.

When: 23-25 July

Venue: National Convention Centre, Canberra

For details visit:

RACGP Conference

Over 1000 delegates attend this annual conference each year, which will include a range of active learning modules, workshops, sessions, short paper presentations and CPR workshops to assist GPs to fulfill their QI&CPD requirements.

When: 9-11 October

Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide

For details visit:

50 Shades of Pain Conference 3-5 December: Save the date

The 50 Shades of Pain Conference will be held 3-5 December 2014 in Brisbane. Hosted by the Australian Pain Management Association and Palliative Care Queensland, it will focus on advanced clinical issues in palliative care and pain management. For specialist palliative and pain management doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners, educators and volunteers from across Australia.

For details or sponsorship opportunities contact: John-Paul Kristensen on 07 3256 2486 You can also download the flyer.



Join Painaustralia


If your organisation cares about people in pain and wants to make a difference, please consider becoming a member of Painaustralia.


Our capacity to influence government policy and improve understanding and management of pain is directly related to the strength of our membership network.


We are currently preparing a 4 year report on progress with the National Pain Strategy. If your organisation has contributed to this progress, or would like to do so in the future, we would love to hear from you.


Your support could make all the difference.


Membership details can be accessed at or you can email 


Past Editions of eNews


Issue 40, 31 March 2014

Issue 39, 11 March 2014

Issue 38, 20 February 2014
Issue 37, 4 February 2014

Issue 36. 20 January 2014

Issue 35, 20 December 2013

Issue 34, 5 December 2013

Issue 33, 21 November 2013

Issue 32, 7 November 2013

Issue 31, 22 October 2013

Issue 30, 7 October 2013

Issue 29, 23 September 2013

Issue 28, 10 September 2013

Issue 27, 23 August 2013

Issue 26, 8 August 2013

Issue 24, 11 July 2013

Issue 23, 21 June 2013

Issue 22, 6 June 2013

Issue 21, 15 May 2013

Issue 20, 22 April 2013

Issue 19, 2 April 2013

Issue 18, 5 March 2013

Issue 17, 16 February 2013

Issue 16, 10 January 2013

Issue 15, 10 December 2012

Issue 14, 15 November 2012

Issue 13, 15 October 2012

Issue 12, 20 September 2012

Issue 11, 24 August 2012

Issue 10, 10 August 2012

Issue 9, 30 July 2012

Issue 8, 24 July 2012

Issue 7, 12 July 2012

Issue 6, 25 June 2012

Issue 5, 7 June 2012

Issue 4, 18 May 2012

Issue 3, 27 April 2012

Issue 2, 30 March 2012

Issue 1, 12 March

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