Chronic pain

Chronic pain

About chronic pain

Chronic pain affects around 20% of Australian adults.

Chronic pain is usually defined, in medical terms, as constant daily pain that is present for at least three of the preceding six months. Chronic pain can have many causes, sometimes it's the result of a severe injury or a disease (eg, arthritis) but it can also have no diagnosable cause.

The following pages look at chronic pain that is not the result of cancer. Chronic cancer pain is treated quite differently to non-cancer pain.

Find out more

For health professionals  

Most patients with chronic pain use at least one medicine – and many rely solely on medicine to manage their pain. However, chronic pain is complex and good management requires a mix of physical, psychological and medical treatment. Often opioids are prescribed as 'pain killers', but their use is limited. Medicines should be seen as part of a comprehensive pain management plan, rather than an end in themselves.

This hub provides more detailed information on effective management of chronic pain.

Our CPD activities

Consolidate your knowledge on chronic pain, brush-up on current guidelines and practices and earn CPD points through our learning activities.

Clinical information

Other tools and resources

Related information - chronic pain


For health professionals (Tool / resource)
27 Nov 2015 A decision aid based on the Tasmanian Department of Health's 8-step checklist for use at any stage of managing on opioids.
(Tool / resource)
23 Jul 2015 Chronic or persistent pain is when pain occurs most days of the week, for at least a three month period. About 1 in 5 Australians suffer from chronic pain and it most commonly occurs in older people.
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
23 Jul 2015 A biopsychosocial approach to managing chronic pain by discussion the importance of non-pharmacological strategies in pain management.
(Media release)
23 Jul 2015 This National Pain Week NPS MedicineWise is releasing resources to encourage people living with chronic pain to have conversations with health providers who can provide support.
17 Jul 2015 Find reliable and evidence-based information, tools and resources about chronic pain provided by health professionals.
For health professionals (CPD activity)
13 Jul 2015 This free CPD activity helps pharmacists support management of patients with chronic pain, recognising the importance of a biopsychosocial approach.
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
02 Jul 2015 Record changes in your chronic pain to help your pain management
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
02 Jul 2015 A resource to help facilitate a discussion with patients about the importance of incorporating non-pharmacological strategies into their pain management.
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
01 Jul 2015 A patient information leaflet that can be used by doctors or pharmacists to explain the role of opioid medicines in chronic pain management.
For health professionals (CPD activity)
30 Jun 2015 Be guided through using a multimodal approach when supporting your patients to manage their chronic non-cancer pain. Review a systematic approach for the assessment of pain and function when initiating, continuing or discontinuing opioid therapy.