1:06 am -After Hours With Dr Caroline West

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Dr Caroline West, GP, Media Doctor, Lecturer Lifestyle Medicine discusses National Pain Week (July 24 – 30) aims to raise awareness of the experiences of the one in five Australians living with chronic pain.

- Cost of pain treatments has more than doubled from 2009 to 2017

- Cost of pain medication has increased by 53% in same period

- National Pain Week aims to raise awareness of the experiences of the one in five Australians living with chronic pain.

- Experts call on government to strengthen primary care and address systemic barriers to adequate treatment.

Results of a new survey of people living with chronic pain, conducted by Chronic Pain Australia, show that they face significant financial and emotional burdens, on top of the debilitating physical burden of living with chronic pain.

“One in five Australians lives with chronic pain, and this figure increases sharply with age, to around one in three people over 65 years,” explains Dr Coralie Wales, President of Chronic Pain Australia. “People living with chronic pain are often unable to work, meaning they are already at a financial disadvantage, and when you add in the financial cost of actually trying to live with chronic pain – people are really struggling.”

To identify the key issues facing the chronic pain community, Chronic Pain Australia conducted a survey of 730 people living with chronic pain in May/June 2017. This was a repeat of a survey of 760 chronic pain sufferers conducted in 2009. Comparison of the results of both surveys paints a bleak picture for those living with chronic pain, with little positive change and some significant increases in the financial burden of living with chronic pain.

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