Working with Chronic Pain: Making Treatment Count

Rachel Kovacevic
BA, BSc (Hons), MPsych (Clin), MAPS
Pieter Rossouw
MClin Psych., PhD., MAPS, MCClin, QCA.
Stephen McCrea
BAppSc (Physio), Cert. Hydro

Chronic pain is commonly defined as pain that persists beyond the natural healing time of a given injury or disease. Although chronic pain is extremely common, affecting up to 1.5 billion people on a global scale (Borsook, 2012), all too frequently it is medically unexplained. In Australia, approximately one in six working adults are affected by pain, occurring every day for at least three months (Blyth et al., 2001), and the estimates are much higher in non-working populations. Overall, the total cost of lost productivity due to chronic pain in Australia is estimated at around AUD 5.1 billion per annum (Van Leeuwen, Blyth, March, Nicholas, & Cousins, 2006), and yet it is estimated that less than 10% of patients gain access to effective pain management, with around 80% missing out on treatments that are known to improve quality of life (National Pain Strategy, 2010)…

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