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Move to recognise chronic pain as disease

Peter BPPeter B Posts: 511
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Chronic Pain
Good news at last. This article appeared in our local paper, The West Australian, today:
"Australia could become the first country to recognise chronic pain as a disease in its own right, giving sufferers greater credibility and access to more integral services.

Chronic pain, which affects one in five people and costs the economy about $A34.4 billion a year, is the third-most expensive health problem in Australia, but most sufferers were still seen as malingerers or drug seekers by general practitioners and busy ED staff, pain specialist Michael Cousins said yesterday.
pain is one of the biggest health issues in Australia today-every bit as high as cancer, AIDS or coronary heart disease.
It affects a person physically, psychologically and environmentally and destroys all aspects of individual and family activities."

Nailed it perfectly.



  • I hope it is being recognized as a physical disease and not a mental one. Formal recognition could help many with insurance approval for treatments. I'm all for doing whatever to help with access to services.

    But, is chronic pain really a disease or just a description of symptoms? For example, I have chronic pain due to post-laminectomy syndrome, pseudoarthrosis, archnoiditis, etc. as evidenced by greater than 6 months of daily back and leg pain. It really sounds like a nursing diagnosis as opposed to a medical one(nurses cannot diagnose, only describe symptoms.) Except for insurance company approvals, how will this help us? ED staff won't understand unless they are hit in the back with a baseball bat. ED docs won't understand but might be happy to have another diagnosis code to increase reimbursement.

    My point is that if people just start getting labeled as "chronic pain diagnosis" that I am afraid that the medical community will not investigate further into possible solutions because they have a reimbursable diagnosis. Thoughts about this????
  • I definitely agree with you. It may be just throwing everyone with chronic pain in to 1 large bunch. It could cause all ailments to be labeled chronic pain instead od any further investigation of the cause. Well said.
  • This could be a GREAT move forward IF it is handled correctly.

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • i believe it is now recognized as a disease especially with the infusion of pain doctors and more liberal prescriptions of narcotics. a few years ago people complained to drs and congress about pain and the laws have been loosened up due to this. a few years ago it was very hard to get narcotics. it is still hard but you have to go through a series of steps before drs will give you them. one also has to sign pain contracts now to protect pain drs from narcotic absers
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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