Australians are letting pain interfere with their lives before seeking support from a health professional. That’s what the latest research conducted by Osteopathy Australia reveals. The study found that two in three over 45 and one in two under 45 are reaching for medication to manage pain.
That’s despite referrals to pain experts occurring in less than 15 percent of GP consultations. In fact, experts are forecasting the prevalence of chronic pain to increase from 3.37 million Australians in 2020 to 5.23 million people by 2050.
Next week is Osteopathic Healthcare Week (2nd – 8th May), and Osteopathy Australia is encouraging Australians to ‘Move Better with Osteopathy’ and to speak to their doctors about long-term best practice solutions for chronic pain instead of reaching for pain medication.
Dr Michelle Funder, President of Osteopathy Australia, is concerned that Australians are becoming too reliant on medication to manage chronic pain.
“Our research reveals that people are letting pain impact their daily life before seeking professional help,” she said. “Often, taking supermarket painkillers may not be the answer.”
“Chronic pain can affect a person’s ability to participate in work, daily activities and exercise. Many cases are due to work, lifestyle, and environmental factors rather than a specific injury, which means they can be easily and safely managed with appropriate healthcare to improve general health and wellbeing.”
Health experts are concerned Australians are relying on medication without much thought to long-term consequences. They believe exercise is a better alternative to long term pain-relief. According to Osteopathy Australia, 70 percent of Australian adults are sedentary or have low levels of physical activity.
Osteopathy is among several regulated healthcare professions in Australia that offers a holistic approach to a patient’s musculoskeletal system. The practice observes how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation operate as one system. Osteopaths develop treatment plans based on the source of the pain.
“Healthcare professionals, such as osteopaths, can help people to make informed decisions about their health and support them to live active healthy lives,” Dr Funder said. “Our approach is to use evidence-based science to find the root cause of a person’s pain and educate and advise them on how to manage their lives to work, rest and play better.”
“Irrespective of age, one of the best things we can all do to have a long and active pain-free life is to move more.”