Painaustralia eNews Issue 41, 22 April 2014
- Pain, Sex, Friends and Your Mother
- Early intervention on arthritis could save billions
- Advancing nurse clinics in primary care projects tackle pain
- The Land's Forum highlights need for consumer education on chronic pain
- Western NSW benefits from pain specialist
- Abuse-resistant OxyContin available, but multidisciplinary pain management remains the key
- University of Queensland attracts $48 million for new pain treatment
- Poor sleep a risk factor for pain in older adults
- Nonsurgical approach to knee osteoarthritis shows significant Improvements
- 2014 ADMA National Conference: Call for Abstracts
- Join Painaustralia
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.
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."
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 email@example.com
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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 www.painmanagementinpractice.com/workshops.html
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: www.phcris.org.au/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: www.gpconference.com.au
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.
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.
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