Recently the government released a document on a nationwide strategy on pain management. Pain (especially chronic) is prevalent, yet misunderstood. There’re many current flaws leading sufferers to be neglected, ultimately leading to non empirical options such as opioid use. In regards to Opioid use, we now have strong evidence that it leads to poor outcomes. The national strategic plan is a thirty-two page document. So I will iNform you on the relevant key points from an exercise physiology perspective. 

Key point one: 

Chronic pain from a medical perspective was not classed on its own as a specific condition. When seeking a team care arrangement (TCA) from a general practitioner (GP) you would have to have an accompanying comorbid condition to be eligible, which is a sadistic oxymoron. A comorbid condition such as type two diabetes mellitus for example. Secondly, living with chronic pain is terribly difficult without the appropriate resources and social support. Along with access to evidence based care which is lacking in some states in Australia. The aforementioned strategy is advising to include chronic pain as a specific medical condition. With eligibility to access a TCA which is fantastic news! And which brings me to my second key point.

Key point two: 

Team care arrangements (TCA) are medical resources for certain populations whom are eligible for five appointments with an allied health practitioner through the Medicare benefits scheme (MBS). The premise of the five appointments is to access support and guidance to manage and optimistically ameliorate one’s chronic condition. Now, allied health professionals have been stern over the years that five rebatable appointments are well below par to make any inroads and psychophysiological change. It was only recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic that a mental health care plan was extended from ten appointments to twenty via the MBS. And most would argue that twenty appointments with a psychologist for a complex psychological issue is only minor at best, however is a good start. It is proposed that ten appointments will be issued with the aforementioned strategic plan which again is progression albeit insignificant to guide and implement real change.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an optimist. When you’re in the field of chronic pain you see suffering, you empathise deeply and you require more time and resources to help. 

To gain access to the national strategic plan for pain management. Readers can access via the painaustralia.org.au page. 

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