2022 - Year in Review

Researchers identify the best ways to ease chronic back pain With large numbers of people across the community looking for effective and lasting ways to treat pain, researchers at the Kolling Institute are driving nationally significant projects to reduce reliance on opioid medication and promote proven alternative options.

Professor Paul Glare

The research by the team from the Pain Management Research Centre comes as the latest figures indicate around 20 per cent of the population experience chronic pain and a large share of those still rely on opioid treatment to reduce the impact of their pain. Centre Director and RNSH specialist Professor Paul Glare said despite the wide use of opioids, researchers knew they were not an effective, long-term option for most people, and caused a wealth of adverse side effects including addiction issues. “Opioid use is directly linked to an increase in mortality, and now accounts for more deaths than car accidents,” he said. “Our research is focusing on the best ways to reduce opioid use considering the complex challenges with

medication withdrawal and patient fears that their pain will become unmanageable. “Our research indicates that cognitive behavioural therapy is the most effective option to reduce pain, and patients are three times more likely to be able to stop their opioid use if they adopt the self-management strategies promoted through the cognitive based therapies.” One part of the research program is to assess the effectiveness of digital technologies to support those with chronic pain while reducing their reliance on opioids. Associate Professor Claire Ashton-James said demand for support was at an all-time high. “Our research has initially focused on how patients would like to

engage with the programs, and one key trend has shown us that the community would prefer to receive consistent SMS messages, rather than tap into an app,” she said. “With the number of people experiencing chronic pain continuing to escalate, it’s crucial that we’re able to provide the very latest evidenced-based data around the treatments that work and help people manage their pain. It can make a lifechanging impact. “Our research has led to the development of carefully scripted messages, videos and patient testimonies.“ This trial is being funded by the Ernest Heine Family Foundation and it is hoped the strategies will directly assist those living with constant pain.

17 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online