Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.
How we experience pain is unique to each of us. Some feel pain very intensely and others feel it to a lesser degree.
Pain intensity is affected by anxiety, fear, depression, receiving bad news, bad sleep and withdrawal from caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or other drugs.
We work closely with you and a multidisciplinary team to ensure your pain is identified and managed appropriately.
Types of pain
Acute pain usually occurs after an illness or injury, or as a result of a medical procedure such as surgery. It usually lessens or resolves once you have recovered or healed.
Chronic pain is any pain suffered consistently for more than three months and can include back pain, neck pain, knee and shoulder pain, repetitive strain injury and neurological pain syndromes. One in five Australians suffer from chronic pain. The longer you have chronic pain the more persistent and resistant it becomes due to a process called central sensitisation.
Nerve pain is a specific type of pain experienced as burning, shooting, electric shocks, cold, pins and needles, and numbness. If it is not identified and treated early may lead to chronic pain.
Our pain management service
Our pain management service includes a range of multidisciplinary specialists in addition to your main doctors who are there to help reduce pain, including:
- pain specialists
- palliative care specialists
- pain clinical nurses
- occupational therapists
- clinical psychologists
- pastoral care.
Our pain management service offers:
- education to help you understand your pain and strategies to help you manage your pain
- specific pain medications
- specialised procedures that may help your pain
- physical therapy and activity modification to reduce physical factors making pain worse
- behavioural and cognitive treatments to reduce the effect of chronic pain.
You may be referred to our pain management specialists by your treating doctor or general practitioner (GP).
Benefits of good pain management
Some of the benefits of participating in a pain management service are:
- improvement in your function and activity levels which results in quicker recovery after surgery, reduced stay in hospital and a faster return to normal function
- reducing the risk of complications including pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis and infections
- controlling pain reduces physical stress on your body and mental anxiety and low mood
- better understanding of your pain medications including what to take, how long to take it and its effects on your body as pain medications are useful but have potential short and long term side effects
- a reduction the risk of pain progressing to chronic and long term pain.
These benefits depend on your particular circumstances and require you to fully participate in necessary before and after care and management. You should consult a specialist in this area before deciding whether treatment is suitable for you.