Chronic Pain and Management

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks and can continue on for as long as years. It is estimated that 20% of Australians suffer from chronic pain (Blyth et al 2001). Chronic pain is often associated with many psychosocial factors and often mental health can contribute to the onset of chronic pain. The risk factors most known to contribute to chronic pain must be addressed early such as fear and avoidance, guarding, negative beliefs, lack of acceptance and low self-efficacy. If these factors are not addressed at the early stages, chronic pain can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder or if these conditions are pre-existing they can become more severe.

The bio-psychosocial pain model considers the interactions among the biological, psychological, and social components unique to each individual. Whilst reduction of pain is the overall main focus important factors that need to be considered are the amount of social support (friends/family) as well as expectation of recovery, if these factors are not addressed correctly, prevalence of chronic pain and intensity of pain may not improve or may even worsen. Essentially, this is only a snapshot of a myriad of the above factors which need to be addressed when coping with chronic pain.

A multidisciplinary approach is currently seen as the best practice for early intervention and chronic pain management for best patient outcomes. Restoring function through exercise is one key factor that plays a role in the bio-psychosocial model used to address chronic pain. For information regarding individual programmes for exercise to reduce and manage chronic pain please contact an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Absolute Balance by emailing info@absolutebalance.com.au or head to our website www.absolutebalance.com.au.

Ryan Gibson (B.Sc. – Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP) (ESSAM)