PAIN

Your friend or foe?

Posted 15 August 2019

Pain is a proactive sensation.  As a friend, it is our body's warning signal of impending harm.  Pain can also be a burden without any positive value, becoming our foe.

Living with pain can have a devastating effects on individuals, their families, communities and workplaces.  According to 2017 Pain Australia Annual Review, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Australians are living with chronic pain.  Living in pain contributes to problems such as opioid dependency, loss of income, decline in physical and mental health and an increased risk of suicide.  Pain is also expensive experience according to AJP last year Australians paid $2.7 billion in out of pocket expenses to manage their pain.

 

There is a need for education, support and access to effective, safe and affordable pain management.  Your local Pharmacist is an ideal first point of contact, they can help assess an appropriate pain management approach.  Pharmacists will require the following information about your pain;

  • type of pain;
  • location of pain; 
  • how often you are experiencing pain;
  • contributing factors; and 
  • duration of the pain

Collecting this information can help determine your level of functionality focusing on everyday activities such as; 

  • dressing;
  • bathing;
  • employment;
  • personal relationships; and 
  • overall quality of life.

Given the recent up scheduling of codeine containing products the #realrelief campaign stresses a better approach to pain management, which may include over the counter mild analgesics and anti-inflammatory. A combination of which is a Pharmacy Only product.  Given the awareness of potential harm associated with the use of opioids and prescriptions only pain killers, speaking with your local pharmacist first certainly had its benefits.  

 

Diet is one of the best ways to alleviate and mange pain,  Much of the pain we experience is due to inflammation.  "A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that one's diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation" says Dr Tabung with the Department of Nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health.  Strong evidence suggests in rich antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory effects that relieve painful flare-ups.  Pain busting foods include whole fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids rich food such as salmon and sardines help the immune system to function at high levels.

Exercise is an important aspect in the treatment of chronic pain and reversing the downward cycle of worsening pain. Movement is a lubricant to the joints and aids activity.  Additionally, nerves and spinal discs needs movement to get nutrients and stay healthy. It also strengthens the muscles against fatigue.  As the nervous system winds down and relaxes, it reduces flare-ups, improves mood and helps with anxiety and depression.  Most importantly the body makes its own pain killers names endorphins that work like prescription pain killers.  

Living an engaging pain-free full life is neither expensive nor complex.  It's simply about seeking the right help is required. Speak to your local pharmacist today!

 

 

 

 

Source: https://ajp.com.au/news/pharmacy-announcements/a-new-plan-for-pain/  http://exerciseismedicine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2014-Chronic-Pain-FULL.pdf    1.       https://www.painaustralia.org.au/static/uploads/files/painaustralia-2017-annual-review-report-degital-wfdhajewxsxi.pdf

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