Let's talk about chronic pain

Chronic pain is complex and can be difficult to treat. One in five Australians, including children and adolescents, live with chronic pain. In Australians aged 65 years or over this rises to one in three.

For this National Pain Week, with the theme 'Pain … Let's talk about it', NPS MedicineWise is releasing resources developed for Australians living with chronic pain. An aim is to encourage people living with chronic pain to have conversations about their experiences and concerns with a range of health providers and others who can provide support.

People who are actively engaged in self-management techniques report lower levels of pain-related disability, improvements in mood, better general health and reduced use of health services.

NPS MedicineWise Clinical Adviser Dr Andrew Boyden explains that, "It is important for people with chronic pain to be well informed and supported in ways that allow them to be actively involved in their own management.

"Chronic pain can cause disruption to many aspects of people's lives. However, an individual's experience of pain is unique to them and being able to have good and open communication with their healthcare providers and other supporters is an important aspect of pain management."

Resources that can assist with this important conversation and other aspects of active self-management include:

Chronic pain communication tool

This free online tool has been developed to help Australians with chronic pain identify issues they would like to discuss with their doctor, specialist, psychologist, friends, family or partner.

Users of the chronic pain communication tool can:

  • Create a personal summary (as a printout or PDF) of the issues they would like to talk about
  • Link to chronic pain information, resources and tools relevant to them
  • Use the personalised summary to start a conversation and keep track of progress.

My pain diary

For people living with chronic pain, a pain diary can be used to record how pain is affecting their daily activities and how medicines, other therapies and activities may be influencing their pain.

The downloadable NPS MedicineWise pain diary aims to help people and their healthcare providers to: 

  • Understand what makes the pain worse and what helps to relieve pain
  • Track responses to a pain management plan, including changes in medicines or other therapies.

Chronic pain knowledge hub

Through the NPS MedicineWise website, people can find clearly written information covering topics from what chronic pain is and why each person's experience is unique, to the many different strategies that can help manage pain and improve function.

Access the NPS MedicineWise chronic pain communication tool here.

Access the NPS MedicineWise 'My pain diary' here.

NPS MedicineWise online information about chronic pain is available here.

Talking about chronic pain icon.

Chronic pain communication tool icon.


Note: The NPS MedicineWise chronic pain communication tool will be unveiled on Friday 24 June 2015 at the National Pain Week NSW Conference 2015 to be held at the State Library, Macquarie Street, Sydney from 10:00am to 4:30pm. All are welcome to attend the NPS MedicineWise display.

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We receive funding by the Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are a journalist seeking comment on a story or more information on any of our programs or campaigns please contact one of our media advisers: Elisabeth Bowdler on 02 8217 8667 or Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 9249 (during office hours) or call the NPS MedicineWise media phone on 0419 618 365 (for urgent media requests outside of office hours). If your enquiry is not urgent you can also send us an email.