Part two of The Conversation’s series on pain has been published – a look at the cost of chronic pain:
In Australia, the burden of musculoskeletal conditions – the most common reason for chronic pain – exceeds that of all other chronic conditions.
The cost of these conditions to the Australian economy in 2012 was more than $A55 billion. Back pain and osteoarthritis, the most common of musculoskeletal conditions, accounted for 52% and 41% of cost respectively.
Pain management is one of the most neglected aspects of health care; our failure to adequately address chronic pain is a major driver of its economic and social burden.
Unfortunately, federal and state governments are yet to adopt a national policy for preventing and dealing with chronic pain. Moreover, the policy landscape remains fragmented by state, region, hospital and health network priorities.
For pain, it is no different. Without the crucial step of an implementation plan and importantly, action, the health care system will continue to produce poor patient outcomes with significant economic impact.
But here is the rub – the things that healthcare providers say can have long lasting and detrimental impacts on pain, the things that healthcare professionals think and believe might lead to sub-optimal treatment and outcomes, the well-intentioned things that doctors do can backfire and make the problem worse when patients see and hear the results of medical imaging, and just having health care providers as people in your life might make the problem worse.
*Thanks to the commenter below for pointing out this very important amendment.