Managing Pain

Pain is a complex condition influenced by the mind, body and environment.

It is an individual experience that is personal and can only be completely understood by the person experiencing the pain.

A person’s pain experience can be strongly influenced by their attitudes, beliefs and even their personality.

Types of Pain
Most pain can be divided into two categories: acute or chronic (persistent) pain.

Acute Pain is classified as short lasting pain that lasts less than 3 months and is treatable with pain medicines and management techniques.

Some common signs of acute pain are that it:

*  Occurs quickly after cause
*  Lasts for a short time (hours, days or weeks)
*  Is not present once the cause has been treated
*  Occurs after surgery, trauma or other conditions.
*  Usually treatable – speak to your pharmacist for pain solutions.

Examples of acute pain include; headaches, period pain, dental pain, back pain, strains, sprains, cuts and bruises

Chronic (persistent) Pain is longer lasting pain occurring for over 3 months. Acute pain can lead to chronic pain and is often permanent and thus must be managed.

Some common signs of chronic pain are that it:

*  May persist after cause is healed
*  May occur without injury
*  May need to be managed for a longer time – speak to your pharmacist about how they can assist.
*  May require complex pain management solutions

Examples of chronic pain include; arthritis, nerve pain and pain associated with other conditions e.g. Cancer.

Managing Pain
Make sure you speak to your pharmacist about how they can help you manage your pain.

After consultation, the pharmacist can offer pain management options and if necessary, refer you on to other health professionals that can best assist you. Some of the services your pharmacist can provide you with to help manage your pain are:

*  Medication management
*  Pain management including alternative complementary therapies
*  Liaising with your doctor and other health professionals
*  Compounding specialised medicines and creams

You can find more information about managing pain on this Pain Australia Fact Sheet

Dependence or Addiction
Medicines containing opioids like codeine and morphine can result in tolerance and dependence. This occurs when opioids become less effective and your body needs larger doses to get the same relief.

This can cause the person to take more than the recommended amount of medicines for a longer period of time, which may lead to other serious health issues.

Severe withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking these medicines, including head and muscle aches, mood swings, insomnia, nausea and diarrhoea.

If you think you or a family member may be dependent on codeine or other pain medicines, you should speak to your doctor.

You can find more information on how to combat dependence or addiction below:

The Turn To Help website
The State and Territory Alcohol and Drug Information Services Contact List
Recent changes to pain medicines access
From 1 February 2018, you will need a prescription to purchase pain relief medicines containing codeine. Your pharmacist can provide advice on managing your pain and may recommend an alternative pain relief treatment available over the counter, or may suggest you consult your doctor. You can read more information about the changes to medicines containing codeine here, or you access more information on the scheduling of codeine products at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website.


The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.