It is estimated that 1 in 5 Australians suffer from pain. This is persistent chronic pain or acute pain that is ongoing for over 3 months.
Pain has a huge impact on the economy. According to The University of Sydney, “36.5 million lost workdays each year are attributed to people suffering from persistent pain. The total cost of lost workdays, health care, and associated costs add up to over $34 billion per year, which equates to $10,847 for each person with the condition. The cost of chronic pain is more than the yearly costs for cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined.
It is possible to effectively manage 70-80 percent of chronic pain. Despite this, only 10 percent of those affected are getting access to adequate treatment. (Bupa)
Due to the lack of access to services especially in rural, regional and remote areas and Aboriginal communities. It’s one reason why the number of opioid prescriptions is 10 times higher in some areas of Australia than others. With no other options, people are turning to drugs like Endone and Oxycontin, putting themselves at risk of dependence, addiction and overdose, and still may not experience effective pain control. (Blyth)
The cost of using opiates is a large contributing factor to the overall cost of pain to the economy. Around one third of chronic pain sufferers use opiates (excluding codeine) – 32% in 2017 and 31% in 2009
Now that we understand pain and the different types of pain, we are in the position to treat it accordingly. To address the issue of the high rising costs of pain we need to look at pain management. Providing affordable and accessible treatments to the wider community and without excluding lower socio-economic demographics will play a critical part in treating pain.