What is persistent pain?

Persistent pain, sometimes called chronic pain, is by definition pain that has lasted for more than three months.

Through multiple mechanisms, persistent pain involves more parts of the body and nervous system than the original site of any injury.

Common effects of persistent pain

A gradual spread of pain and sensitivity

Mostly due to neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system.

General deconditioning

A loss of strength, endurance and aerobic fitness, weight gain or loss.

Changes in mood

Worry, stress, anxious or depressed thinking, social withdrawal.

Poor sleep

Due to discomfort, a lack of activity, mood changes, medications.

Other problems

Other problems related to the side effects from medications or treatments.

A whole-person approach

Timely management that focuses on the whole person (a biopsychosocial approach), and weighs up the risk and benefits of any treatments (rather than injury-focused management), is considered to be best practice for the management of persistent pain.

What services are available for injured workers with persistent pain?

Pain education programs

Pain education programs are brief 8–10 hour multidisciplinary group education programs designed to provide injured workers with a greater understanding of pain, the biopsychosocial approach to managing pain, and an introduction to strategies such as relaxation and activity pacing.

These programs can provide an effective lower level introduction to pain management strategies for injured workers.

Network pain management programs

Network Pain Management Programs are longer multidisciplinary, group-based, goal-oriented programs that are designed to assist workers with musculoskeletal injuries and persistent pain to manage their condition.

They aim to improve a worker’s health outcomes by:

  • educating the worker about their pain
  • educating the worker about the risks and benefits of treatments for pain
  • rationalising and reducing medications where possible
  • improving mental health and physical capacity
  • teaching self-management skills to support a timely transition to self-management.

Get a referral

A referral to a pain education program or a network pain management program can be made by a medical practitioner, physiotherapist or psychologist.

WorkSafe Victoria currently has arrangements in place with a number of organisations to provide pain education programs and network pain management programs to injured workers.

Pain Education Providers

Austin Health

www.austin.org.au
Step In Pain Education Program
Ph: (03) 9496 3134
Fax: (03) 9496 4337
Email: [email protected]

Barwon Health

www.barwonhealth.org.au
Map & Compass Pain Education Program
Ph: (03) 4215 1398
Fax: (03) 4215 1383

St Vincent’s Hospital

www.svhm.org.au
Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management
Ph: (03) 9231 4681
Fax: (03) 9231 4660