Prevention vital to reducing impact of chronic pain

‘If pain is not addressed early, it can become a debilitating and costly condition. We know

that 3.24 million Australians experience chronic pain. Making even a small improvement in

early intervention can have a big impact on long term health outcomes for individuals, their

families, workplaces and communities’, Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett said.

Painaustralia has welcomed Labor’s $115.6 million commitment to promoting health and

preventing many painful chronic conditions.

Chronic pain, also called persistent pain, is pain that continues for more than three months

and often has its inception in surgery, an injury, or as a result of disease or chronic condition

like arthritis or lower back pain.

“This funding commitment addresses a number of common risk factors that cause many

painful chronic conditions such as cancer, arthritis, asthma, back pain, cardiovascular

disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and mental health conditions,” Painaustralia

CEO Carol Bennett said.

“Tackling these risk factors through prevention and early intervention is a vital step in

addressing the growing prevalence of chronic pain,” Ms Bennett said.

Painaustralia’s new report on the Cost of Pain in Australia highlighted that people living with

chronic pain also have other comorbid conditions, with over 44% also living with depression

and anxiety, 29.3% with arthritis and 25% with high blood pressure.

“Chronic pain can have a debilitating effect on a person’s mood, physical functioning, and

social relationships. People living with chronic pain can also experience other conditions

along with chronic pain such as depression, sleep disturbance and fatigue,” Ms Bennett


These comorbidities often contribute to worse health, societal and financial outcomes – for

example, major depression in patients with chronic pain is associated with reduced

functioning, poorer treatment response, and increased health care costs. In 2018, this figure

was $73.2 billion in direct health, productivity and related costs and $66.1 billion in quality of

life costs totalling $139 billion.

“Strategies outlined in Labor’s commitment today, such as a National Obesity Strategy, a

National Tobacco Campaign, a National Alcohol Strategy and a National Platform for

consumer information, can all play a very important role in reducing the burden of chronic

disease and together with that, the significant impact of chronic pain,” Ms Bennett said.

/Public Release.