The Chronic Pain Consumer Network (SA) was established to:

  • Strengthen advocacy and support for South Australians living with chronic pain
  • Work together to implement the recommendations of the Australian National Pain Strategy March 2010 across SA

The recommendations include the following:

  • people with pain will have the knowledge and confidence to better understand and manage their pain (G2)
  • people with pain will have timely access to best practice, evidence-based assessment and care (G3)
  • people with pain will have timely access to effectively coordinated care and support, as close as possible to where they live (G4)
  • pain management will be enhanced in an outcome-focused quality improvement process that involves consumer collaboration (G5) ANPS, March 2010

A South Australian study of people who live daily with chronic pain identified the need for a range of holistic care to help maintain quality of life.

The greatest needs are:

  • affordable medications
  • effective coordinated referral to services
  • support for General Practice clinic staff who provide care
  • information on medical and allied health services, for better referrals

Long waiting lists for pain clinics and community services are unacceptable and lead to unnecessary disability and social isolation. The biggest barriers are the cost of medications and the waiting times. People on the severe end of the spectrum report having trouble accessing some pain medications or treatments available interstate.

A number of useful services include:

  • multidisciplinary patient-centred management
  • early assessment and informed preventative action
  • physiotherapy assessments – mobility, exercise and movement
  • tailored medication reviews
  • information and education
  • lifestyle adjustment/self-management
  • reviews of pain, sleep, stress and nutrition
  • self-powered psychosocial skills
  • community service support
  • outcome monitoring and feedback
  • information and education

These solutions are consistent with Medicare items for all people with chronic conditions.

Services and opportunities available in South Australia for people in pain include:

  • Southern Chronic Illness Links Network
  • Café Clubs
  • Phone line support
  • Telephone link-up groups – Uniting Care Wesley
  • Challenging Pain Programme – Arthritis SA
  • Specialist Physiotherapists
  • Living Beyond Pain Seminars
  • Dignity for Pain Sufferers (DFPS)
  • Overcoming Pain Workshops – Marion Physiotherapy
  • Fleurieu Cancer Group