Migi the Migraine06/05/2022
Creative Therapy for Anxiety07/06/2022
Getting help soon after you are injured.
Have you ever put off getting an injury looked at? I know I have. The usual excuses – “I haven’t enough time…It seems okay…. It will be better in a few days….” or even “who cares?”.
A delay in seeking treatment following an injury can affect both your physical health and your mental health.
As humans, we avoid negative experiences. It relates to all parts of our life. We try to recognize potential risks and reduce them as soon as possible.
What did you do the last time you had a headache? Did you do something as soon as the headache started (take a couple pills, hot pack, meditate or have a nap) or did you ignore it and it worsened or even turned into a migraine?
It is important to identify symptoms early and seek the necessary treatment to reduce the risk of developing a pain condition or another psychological condition.
We often see people who have injured themselves many months or even years prior. By the time they get to see us they have often either done little or tried every therapy under the sun (even chicken sacrificing under a full moon!).
When we finally see them (and yes we are often after the chicken sacrifices…), they have symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, poor sleep, and the list goes on and on. Ultimately, lost in their pain and struggling to find a way out.
As a results of these delays and the wrong treatment, the cost of treating Chronic (or persistent) Pain is skyrocketing!
Some current statistics (Pain Australia 2019)
- The personal burden stretches beyond physical pain: Studies show close to 1.45 million Australians (45%) living with chronic pain also live with depression and anxiety. That number will rise to 2.3 million people by 2050.
- If nothing changes, the number of people in pain will skyrocket: The number of Australians living with chronic pain is set to rise from 3.24 million to 5.23 million by 2050 (68.3% of which will be working age) if we don’t act.
- Inaction will see the chronic pain price tag remain in the billions: In 2018, Australians paid $2.7 billion in out-of-pocket expenses to manage their pain. In Australia, the total annual cost will rise from $139.3 billion in 2018 to an estimated $215.6 billion by 2050.
- in 2019, South Australia had over 238,000 people living with chronic pain; predicted to rise to 320,000 by 2050!
Soft tissue injuries or musculoskeletal injuries are common injuries. It is important to start moving as early as possible and to seek appropriate treatment. The support of a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist with great pain science knowledge is important. Too often we see people who have become dependent on passive treatment such as massage therapy and machine therapy. Sometimes attending up to 3 times a week for months. When we ask if these treatments are helping they will say “I feel better for a few hours…” with no long-term benefits. We have often seen people who have had up to 11 cortisone injections with no help but keep doing this as their specialist has suggested it. These ineffective and passive treatments are skyrocketing pain costs in Australia.
But its not all doom and gloom. Many people have a full recovery following their injury! A percentage will not and it’s this group that we need to identify quickly to prevent chronic pain.
Things we need to look for
- Are you experiencing unpleasant feelings or emotions as well as pain?
- Have you stopped many activities at work and at home?
- Do you have social/family support?
- What are your beliefs about your injury? Do you think “I’m buggered”?
- Is the initial treatment passive with little change?
- What is work like? Has your GP given you months off work? Do you like work? Do they like you at work?
- What is your sleep like?
- Are you drinking or smoking (or eating the dreaded chocolate and chips) more?
Seeing an appropriately trained psychologist early may help people who are at risk of developing a pain condition. Research has demonstrated that early, short term psychological interventions can aid in improving someone’s function, mood, confidence, and perception of their pain following an injury (Nicholas et al, 2020).
So come and see us before the chicken sacrifice and sometimes even before the injections.
- Have you recently sustained an injury?
- Has your pain remained the same or worsened?
- Have you reduced your activities/work because of your pain?
- Have you noticed your mood worsening?
- Are you scared that you may reinjure yourself if you increase your activity?
- Has your sleep or appetite changed?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions you may benefit from some psychological therapy. The psychologists at Paragon PsychConnect are very experienced in pain management and therapy can be undertaken 1 on 1, in group programs and even via Telehealth. Please get in touch today on our Enquiry page or send us an email ua.moc.tcennochcyspnogarap@nimda.
For further information complete Orebro which screens for risk of long-term pain Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire
 Nicholas, M.K., Costa, D.S.J., Linton, S.J. et al. Implementation of Early Intervention Protocol in Australia for ‘High Risk’ Injured Workers is Associated with Fewer Lost Work Days Over 2 Years Than Usual (Stepped) Care. J Occup Rehabil 30, 93–104 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-019-09849-y