One in five mature Australians suffering chronic pain

Font Size:

More Australians than ever visited their GP for chronic pain in 2015-16, and an estimated 1.6 million people aged 45 and over lived with persistent, ongoing pain in 2016, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Chronic pain in Australia, explores the latest national data on the proportion of people with chronic pain, as well as its impact, treatment and management.

“In 2016, it was estimated that almost one in five (1.6 million) Australians aged 45 and over had chronic pain with higher rates for women compared to men, said AIHW spokesperson Katherine Faulks.

“Chronic pain is ongoing and debilitating and can impact a person’s ability to participate in work, daily activities, exercise, and access health care.

“It lasts beyond the normal healing time after injury or illness and is experienced on most days of the week. It can result from injury, surgery, musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, or other medical conditions such as cancer.”

Between 2006–07 and 2015–16, the rate of GP visits where chronic back pain or unspecific chronic pain were managed increased by 67 per cent, representing about 400,000 more encounters for both conditions.

There were almost 105,000 hospital admissions in 2017–18, where chronic pain was deemed relevant to the patient’s care and patients with chronic pain were more likely to have a longer stay in hospital compared to those without.

“People with chronic pain are more likely than those without chronic pain to experience mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, sleep disturbance and fatigue,” Ms Faulks said.

“A person with chronic pain often has contact with a range of health professionals to assist in the management of their pain, including GPs, medical specialists, psychologists, physiotherapists and social workers.

“For people aged 45 and over, those with chronic pain are almost three times as likely to have been dispensed pain medication as those without chronic pain,” Ms Faulks said.

Pain medicine includes opioids, migraine medication, and other analgesics.

Ms Faulks noted the difficulties in measuring chronic pain as it is a highly personal experience, and surveys rely on self-reporting by individuals.

Surveys and data collections examined in this report do not measure distinct types of pain but measure them collectively. This makes it difficult to explore the different types of chronic pain experienced in Australia.

Do you suffer with chronic pain in your everyday life? How has this affected the quality of your retirement?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

RELATED LINKS

Cancer costs soar for patients with private health cover

Cancer treatment can be twice as expensive for patients with private health insurance.

Is this why you’re extra tired in lockdown?

All those extra, tiny decisions are taxing our brains and taking a physical toll.

How to celebrate Mother’s Day remotely with your mum

Here's how to show that you care - from a distance.

Written by Ben



SPONSORED LINKS

Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Smartphones

What works, what won't, if you get your phone wet

Ritesh Chugh, CQUniversity Australia If you've ever got your phone wet in the rain, dropped it in water or spilt...

Nutrition

Are natural alternatives better than refined sugar?

Eating sugar shouldn't be demonised and tucking into a bar of chocolate after a stressful day is nothing to punish...

Health news

What your body may be trying to tell you

One of the unforeseen outcomes of a pandemic is that fewer people are going to the doctor to get unusual...

COVID-19

What people who have received AstraZeneca say about the side-effects

Half of those who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine experience side-effects, but most of them are minor, despite the very small...

Insights

YourLifeChoices Older Australians Wellbeing Index 2020-21

A new wellbeing index from Australia’s longest-standing community for over 50s, YourLifeChoices, has revealed most older Australians are feeling positive...

COVID-19

Are over 50s being 'treated as second-class citizens' on vaccine?

YourLifeChoices has received numerous queries from members asking why over 50s "are forced to use the AstraZeneca vaccine and not...

Finance News

Get set to tighten your belt with series of price hikes forecast

Get set to tighten the belt in coming months with news that retailers are set to increase their prices across...

Health

Do you get the winter blues? Here are the SAD symptoms to look out for

I think everybody can say they've felt tempted to stay curled up on the couch with a mug of something...

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...