Persisting pain affects 1 in 5 Australians, yet less than 10% of people get the help they need to recover from this condition. World-renowned pain scientist, educator and clinician Professor Lorimer Moseley, is leading his team of 50 dedicated health professionals, patients and educators on the Pain Revolution Rural Outreach Tour to tackle this problem head-on.
In collaboration with Primary Health Tasmania and a range of community and professional groups, his team will cycle 700 kilometers and deliver 19 free educational events for the public and health professionals from March 16-23rd. This is no ordinary charity bike ride – packed houses in town halls, surf clubs and RSLs attest to that - it is a world leading public health promotion and grassroots campaign to tackle Australia’s most burdensome health problem.
As well as raising awareness and providing valuable resources for rural health professionals and the wider community, the Tour raises critical funds to support Pain Revolution’s world-first Local Pain Educator program, a capacity and community building program that trains and supports rurally based health professionals to provide best care and education locally.
Australia is a world leader in chronic pain research yet the impact of persistent pain on rural and regional communities is massive and growing. Persistent pain is a major risk factor for depression, suicide, cancer, stroke and heart disease, not to mention opioid and harder drug addiction, a problem that is hitting at the heart of rural communities across Australia. Persistent pain is the most common reason for early retirement. Pain Australia, the nation’s peak national body representing the needs of people with persisting pain estimate that it cost the Australian economy more than $34 billion dollars in 2017, more than cancer and heart disease combined. Critically, these risks, costs and burden could be halved if people receive timely, effective care.
Professor Moseley and his international research collaborators have made startling discoveries about over the last 30 years. They have also shown that people can recover from persistent pain when they too understand those discoveries. This is why academic and scientific organisations across the world recommend pain education as the highest priority intervention to prevent and treat persistent pain. Moseley has gathered expert educators, scientists and clinicians to take these discoveries directly to the people. “Persistent pain is a complex problem. We need collaborative cross-sector efforts to take it on. Modern pain science is surprising. It is amazing. It is fun. It is full of hope and it is transforming lives.”
Painaustralia’s CEO, Carol Bennett, recognises the importance of Pain Revolution’s programs for people in pain in rural and regional Australia. "The Local Pain Educator Program addresses a dire gap in Australia’s healthcare system – tending to people with chronic pain in regional Australia. This program serves to boost pain management capacity in these areas by offering specific pain training to targeted healthcare professionals in areas where access to best-practice, holistic care doesn’t exist.”
“So many people don’t understand pain, why it is there, what they should and shouldn’t be doing as a result and how to best live with it. This Rural Outreach tour is designed to address all of these questions in an engaging and easy to understand way for everyone affected by pain.”
Sinan Tejani is a Physiotherapist in Burnie, Tasmania that will join Professor Moseley for the 700km Rural Outreach Tour. Sinan not only works with people in pain, but he's also recovered from persisting neck pain that did not resolve with rest or the standard treatments often prescribed for musculoskeletal pain.
"I used a lot of passive treatments, like electrotherapy and massage, because I had access to them at work, I was obsessed with the tightness I could feel in my neck muscles and I completely stopped exercising because of the fear that it would cause me more damage." Despite his knowledge as a health professional, Sinan's pain didn't resolve until he gained specialist knowledge in Pain Science. Sinan has been recently selected as one of the 19 Local Pain Educators for Tasmania, where he will put Professor Moseley's research in to practice in his local community.
Dr Tim Andrewartha is a General Practitioner in Smithton, in north-west Tasmania, who knows only too well the challenges of treating persisting pain in rural Australia. “ When a patient is in front of you visibly suffering, hearing that the best approach to their pain management involves going on a long wait list for a comprehensive pain service is just not what they want to hear.”
"It is difficult as a rural practitioner to have discussions with patients about evidence based multi-disciplinary approaches to persistent pain management when you know that the services are just not that available.”
"Without adequate services dedicated to comprehensive persistent pain management in rural areas, patient care too often is centered around drugs.”
Professor Moseley agrees, “we have failed rural communities when it comes to pain. We have failed to understand the unique challenges they face, and now we need to work with communities to embed the capacity to prevent and manage persistent pain locally” starting with the upcoming tour in Tasmania.”
The Rural Outreach Tour events are free for both the general public and health professionals.
Bookings can be made via the webpage www.painrevolution.org/events . The tour is visiting Devonport (Mar 16), Burnie (Mar 17), Smithton (Mar 18), Launceston (Mar 19), Scottsdale (Mar 19), St Helens (Mar 20), Swansea (Mar 21), Hobart (Mar 22), Glenorchy (Mar 23) and Huonville (Mar 23).
Pain Revolution is a University of South Australia Charity organization founded by Professor Lorimer Moseley in 2016. The Rural Outreach Tour started in 2017; the first tour from Melbourne to Adelaide covered 890 kms, and the second tour in 2018 from Sydney to Albury-Wodonga covered 750kms. The riders and support crew conducted educational events throughout each of those tours, usually 10+ events per tour reaching hundreds of people in rural and regional Australia living with the burden of persisting pain. The Local Pain Educator Program was established in 2018 with a multidisciplinary group of 13 health professionals, with a second cohort of 19 Tasmanian health professionals entering the program in 2019.
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