Millions of Australians living with chronic pain
AN ESTIMATED four million Australians woke up in pain this morning.
This figure is likely to be the same tomorrow and even higher several months into the future.
Chronic Pain Australia president Coralie Wales fears pain is "reaching epidemic proportions".
The cost of treating pain is estimated at $34.3 billion a year.
This week is National Pain Week and the aim is to raise awareness of the huge number of people living with pain.
"We want people to start talking about it because we are trying to reduce the isolation and suffering that people in pain have to deal with," Dr Wales said.
A national survey of 1443 people living with pain identified back pain as the most common ailment, affecting 69.2% of those surveyed.
This was followed by nerve pain (48.7%) and then headache, including migraines, at 39.8%.
Medically unexplained pain accounted for 12%.
Most people said they took medication to treat their pain.
Almost half of those surveyed (48%) said they have lived with pain for more than 10 years.
Most respondents identified trauma as preceding the onset of their pain, underscoring the need for people to understand the relationship between trauma and pain.
Pain was also shown to be ageless. Most respondents were aged between 31 and 50 years, followed by 38.9% aged between 51 and 70, and 10.8% between 21 and 30.
Recommendations for managing pain include reducing stress, being as healthy as possible and, most importantly, not trying to be a superman or superwoman.
As many as 134 carers of someone in pain took part in the survey. Most were caring for their spouse or partner (53%).