Painaustralia eNews Issue 39, 11 March 2014
- Chronic Pain warrants urgent attention, Farifax highlights
- Community pharmacy can play a greater role
- Pressure mounts for South Australia to endorse National Pain Strategy
- New technology may help phantom limb pain
- Botox for migraine gets PBS approval, but others miss out
- James Wood AO QC retires from Painaustralia board
- Welcome to new director Professor Deborah Schofield
- Top line up of speakers for Hobart consumer day
- beyondblue Roadshow
- Arthritis Awareness Week 2014: Time to Move
- AML Alliance Pain Education for Primary Care Health Professionals – Symposia
- Join Painaustralia
Leading Fairfax papers in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra have given prominence to a feature on chronic pain, highlighting it as an ethical issue that warrants urgent attention as a national health priority.
The story, published last week in the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and The Age, pointed to the major social and economic costs of chronic pain which can cause people to "...lose their jobs, their families, and even take their lives."
While Australia set the pace globally with the first ever National Pain Strategy, chronic pain still lacks recognition, leaving momentum on this vital issue constrained. As Professor Michael Cousins AO observes, "People with chronic pain tend to suffer silently because they get the message other people don't want to hear about it... it's appalling."
Painaustralia welcomes this uncompromising support from Fairfax papers for our advocacy and our ongoing "Campaign for Pain".
To find out more and pledge your support, visit www.campaignforpain.org.au
Community pharmacy can play a greater role
Stakeholder consultations conducted by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia in relation to the forthcoming 6th Pharmacy Agreement have highlighted potential benefits and savings to the health system of making better use of the existing community pharmacy network.
With more than 5,350 community pharmacies in Australia, the Pharmacy Guild believes these can be better utilised to deliver a broader set of services and functions – including pain management education and support – in collaboration with other health professionals.
It is suggested that pharmacists could deal with a variety of minor ailments, normally requiring a visit to the GP, to help ease waiting times and the related strain on the health system. However pharmacists are concerned about the flow-on impacts of PBS price disclosure, which has reduced pharmacists' capacity to provide such services at no cost to their customers.
This transformation has already begun in some countries, with Canada, Scotland and the UK funding community pharmacies to better manage minor ailments including back pain. In Australia, the Pharmacy Guild believes community pharmacies have significant capacity to deliver cost-effective improvements in health outcomes, especially within aged care in the home; screening, prevention and wellness checks; minor ailments and triage; medicine adherence and compliance; medication management post discharge from acute care; and vaccination.
There is currently a review being conducted into the role of community pharmacies in medication management and related services. To find out more, contact Monica Brabant on 02 8266 1150 or email email@example.com
Pressure mounts for South Australia to endorse National Pain Strategy
Chronic pain continues to be a neglected issue in South Australia, the only state yet to endorse the National Pain Strategy.
Currently patients are forced to wait up to three years to see a pain specialist in a public hospital pain clinic – a situation already being addressed in other states where recommendations of the National Pain Strategy are being implemented.
President of the Australian Medical Association (South Australia) Patricia Montanaro, in her piece for The Advertiser, says this situation is "...simply not good enough". The issue was highlighted recently in a report on chronic pain which aired on the ABC's 7.30 SA Report.
Painaustralia patient advocate Mary Wing, who was interviewed for the story, says people are contacting her asking why South Australia hasn't made greater progress on chronic pain, when other States have implemented multi-million dollar chronic pain strategies.
Mrs Wing said she was writing to parliamentarians in the hope that chronic pain may get some attention in the course of the forthcoming election. What can you do to help? Join the campaign for pain.
A new treatment known as augmented reality technology may help alleviate phantom limb pain (PLP), which occurs in more than half of amputees.
Existing virtual reality treatments use mirror therapy to reflect the missing limb, and have been shown to help patients with one-sided amputations. Augmented reality goes one step further, superimposing a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world.
In the case of PLP treatment, the technology supplies the amputee with a virtual replacement limb, and patients see themselves on a screen with the superimposed limb. Electrodes placed on the patient's stump detect electrical signals in the muscles that are translated into arm movements, so the patient is able to control their virtual limb in real time. Treatment also involves a gaming component, where patients control a game with the movements of their phantom limb.
In the published case study, a patient who has lived with moderate to unbearable pain since an amputation in 1965 is now pain-free some of the time, after being treated using augmented reality technology.
Lead researcher Max Ortiz Catalan, PhD student from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, suggests the pain relief may be due to a combination of factors, including reactivating the motor areas of the patient's brain and the patient's visual feedback, which tricks the brain into believing the limb is executing the motor commands.
Dr James McAuley from Neuroscience Research Australia says preliminary findings have been impressive.
Botox for migraine gets PBS approval, but others miss out
Botox treatment for chronic migraine sufferers is set to be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), good news for the more than 450,000 Australians suffering from chronic migraine and experiencing headache on up to 15 or more days per month.
Botox is widely used by neurologists to treat chronic migraine in patients who don't respond to other treatments, but without PBS listing treatment could cost up to $800 for three months relief. The development will be a great support to those who use it as treatment for migraine, however other chronic pain conditions that may respond well to Botox, such as pudendal neuralgia, at this stage have been sidelined.
James Wood AO QC has stepped down from the board of Painaustralia. Mr Wood has been a director since our formation in 2011. His commitment to the board during our formative years has been valuable in affording the organisation status and credibility and helping to ensure a high standard of governance.
A former Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW and Royal Commissioner into NSW Police Corruption, James had a keen interest in the human right aspects of Painaustralia's work and was a thoughtful and compassionate advisor to the board during his term as director.
We wish him well as he takes up a new role and gratefully acknowledge his very valuable contribution.
Welcome to new director Professor Deborah Schofield
Members who attended the 2013 Painaustralia AGM will know why we are so delighted to welcome Professor Deborah Schofield to the Painaustralia National Board.
Her keynote presentation focused on the impact of chronic pain on workplace productivity, and highlighted just how relevant her expertise and research work is to Painaustralia's advocacy role.
Professor Schofield is Chair of Health Economics at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, School of Public Health, at The University of Sydney. Her career has spanned the Australian Government public service, academia and clinical practice, and she has a national and international reputation for her work in economic modeling of the health system.
At Painaustralia's 2013 AGM Professor Schofield presented findings from research showing a clear link between untreated chronic pain and poverty, highlighting the need for early intervention to assist people to remain in the workforce. Back pain and arthritis were top of the list in forcing early retirement, significantly affecting people's ability to support themselves financially.
The study found rates of poverty were very high, particularly for back pain, with about 50 per cent of people out of the workforce due to back problems living in poverty. This study showed that cutting back on health expenditure can't improve the economy, but that health and economics interact strongly with one another – a key message for Painaustralia that strongly correlates with Professor Schofield's work. These synergies make Professor Schofield's joining Painaustralia an exciting partnership and we're looking forward to seeing what the future holds as a result.
Registrations are now open for the Living Well With Pain Consumer Symposium and Forum, which will be held in Hobart on Sunday 13 April.
Following the success of the inaugural consumer day in Canberra last year, this event has an impressive line up of speakers who will share some of the latest research on pain and provide information about effective pain management strategies which can vastly improve quality of life.
Speakers include world class pain experts such as:
- Dr Craig White, CMO for TAS Health who will officially opening proceedings
- Professor Michael Nicholas, Director of the ADAPT Pain Management Program at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney – Understanding chronic pain and self management
- Professor Jeffrey Mogil, Professor of Pain Studies and Canada Research Chair in Genetics of Pain at McGill University in Montreal, Canada – Pain, Friends, Sex and Your Mother (!)
- Dr Richard Sullivan, an Interventional Pain Specialist and Specialist Anaesthetist – Integrating medications with your pain management plan
- Megan Willing, Physiotherapist, Hobart Persistent Pain Clinic – How physiotherapy can help in your pain management
As well as people living with pain – family, friends and health care professionals are welcome to attend.
beyondblue is holding a national Roadshow to encourage people to tune into their mental health, open up and talk about their problems, and take action early to get appropriate support.
The National Roadshow's big blue bus will travel 22,000km around Australia over the next 18 months, spending time in each of Australia's 61 Medicare Local regions and working closely with health services and the community to hold a range of community events and activities.
People with pain who also experience depression or anxiety are urged to seek information from the Roadshow.
beyondblue invites you to follow the journey at www.beyondblue.org.au/take1step
Arthritis Awareness Week 2014: Time to Move
Arthritis Awareness Week 2014 will be held from Sunday 23 March to Saturday 29 March 2014.
Dr Chris Bourke, MLA will officially launch the week in Canberra on Monday 24 March, and all are invited to attend. The launch will include a special guest speaker, Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologist Kirra Rankin, who will talk about the benefits of regular exercise.
The event will be held from 11.45am to 1pm at the Canberra Croquet Club. RSVP is required by Wednesday 19 March by calling 6288 4244 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Following extremely successful events in Sydney and Brisbane, registrations are still available for the AML Alliance Symposia on Pain Education for Primary Health Care Professionals in Melbourne (11 & 12 April) and Perth (23 & 24 May).
Facilitated by Professor Michael Nicholas (PMRI), with content delivered by local presenters, day 1 will focus on the problem of pain and underlying concepts for its effective management, while day 2 will focus on the treatment and management of pain conditions.
For further information visit: amlalliance.com.au/events/pain-management-symposia
Brain Awareness Week
Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness of brain research. Events in Sydney and Brisbane are as follows:
Sydney: Martin Place from 8am on 11 March
Brisbane: Queen Street Mall from 8am on 13 March
PMRI Visiting Scholars' Program
When: March 13 from 4-5pm
Where: The Auditorium, Level 5, Kolling Institute, RNSH
The details are as follows:
Presenter: Associate Professor Damien Finniss
Associate Prof. Finniss is a clinician and researcher at the University of Sydney Pain Management Research Institute and Royal North Shore Hospital. He will be presenting on Placebo Effects – New explorations of the therapeutic context and relevance to front line clinicians. All welcome! Click here for more information
Arthritis Awareness Week
Arthritis Awareness Week 2014 will be held from Sunday 23 March to Saturday
29 March 2014. Dr Chris Bourke, MLA will officially launch the week in Canberra on Monday 24 March, and all are invited to attend.
When: Monday, 24 March, 11.45am-1.00pm
Venue: Canberra Croquet Club, Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla
Contact: 6288 4244 or email@example.com
Endometriosis Awareness Month
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month – raising awareness and support for women suffering from Endometriosis. You can check out Painaustralia's report on Pelvic Pain here, or for more information head over to GAIN's website
Pain Management in Practice Workshops
Pain Management in Practice is delivering interdisciplinary one 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: 27-28 March (Melbourne), 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
RACP Congress 2014
When:18-21 May 2014
Overview: With more than 1000 delegates, the RACP Congress is back in NZ for the first time since 2005. 15% of RACP fellows are based across New Zealand and many of their Australian counterparts will be making the journey to enjoy the 75th Anniversary Congress and Congress Dinner. See details on the program and confirmed oration speakers here
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 fulfil 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 or 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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