This week marks National Pain week (25 July to 1 August) to remind our friends, family and health professionals of the social isolation that pain can create. Almost 1 in 5 Aussies aged 45 and over experience chronic pain but it also affects more than 3.4 million other people.

Chronic pain is widely misunderstood and there is still a lot we need to learn about it and how to treat it. This pain can be disabling and stressful, making it hard for a person to work and do the things they enjoy. More people are seeing their general practitioner (GP) for chronic pain. Painaustralia has developed a new factsheet outlining the devastating effects of chronic pain which is available on the Painaustralia website to view and/or print out for distribution.

More than 68% of Australians living with chronic pain are of working age. Nearly half of working Australians who retire early are doing so because of chronic pain. Chronic pain is pain that lasts beyond normal healing time after injury or illness—generally 3 to 6 months. It is a common and complex condition, and the pain experienced can be anything from mild to severe. The defining characteristic of chronic pain is that it is ongoing and experienced on most days of the week.

In 2020, costs of chronic pain were $144.1 billion. If nothing is done, it is expected to rise to $215.6 billion by 2050.