Things to remember | You want to take control | You are not coping with your pain | You are struggling at work | You’ve decided to stop taking your regular medication for pain | You’ve noticed significant changes to your symptoms | Where to get help | How we can help | More to explore | Download PDF
It’s not easy dealing with persistent pain. Facing uncertainty about how you’ll feel each day can be very frustrating. It can make planning your everyday activities, work, social life and family commitments challenging.
So it’s not surprising that sometimes pain and emotions can get on top of you. But there are many things you can do and many resources available to help you get back on track.
Here are five reasons you should see your doctor about your persistent pain.
If you want to learn more about pain and how to manage it effectively, talk with your doctor about pain management programs. These programs can be found in many areas, and are even available online.
Pain management programs specifically address the range of factors affecting your recovery including:
By attending a pain management program you will learn from health professionals such as doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and psychologists. These professionals provide information and advice on how you can best manage your pain with the least side effects to help you increase your activity levels and achieve your goals.
Talk with your doctor about whether a pain management program would be helpful for your situation.
It’s important to talk with your doctor if you feel like you’re not coping, especially if:
Your doctor understands that living with persistent pain is difficult. He/she can work with you to find the right pathway that will help you. They can also refer you to other health professionals including specialists in physical and/or mental health.
If you’re not coping with your work responsibilities, or just getting to and from work has become difficult because of your pain, you should discuss this with your doctor. Evidence shows that work is good for you.
So even though you may be in pain, doing what you can at work will be of benefit to your overall health and wellbeing.
It may be possible for adjustments to be made to your work to help you cope. Your doctor is able to recruit other healthcare professionals, such as specially trained physiotherapists, occupational therapists and specialist doctors (occupational physicians) to assist you to remain at work.
Check out the list of websites and contacts at the end of this page for support services that can help you stay at work.
It’s important that you talk with your doctor openly if you’re thinking of stopping any medications for pain, mood and muscle spasm. Some medications need to be reduced gradually to avoid potential unpleasant side effects. Your doctor will advise you on this.
It’s important to be aware of other health changes that may occur. They can be present for a variety of reasons, many of which will be unrelated to your pain. Pain intensity alone is not a sign that something suspicious or worrying is happening.
However, if you have been experiencing any of the following symptoms, talk with your doctor:
These ‘red flags’ are clues for your doctor that something has changed. For people who have experienced: malignant cancer, long-term steroid use (not asthma puffers), have recently had a severe infection or experienced some physical trauma that could have resulted in a fracture, changes in pain and other signs and symptoms should be treated with caution and investigated further.
Call our National Help Line and speak to our nurses.Phone 1800 263 265 or email email@example.com
The whole or part of this material is copyright to the State of Victoria and the Better Health Channel. Reproduced with permission of the Victorian Minister for Health. Users are permitted to print copies for research, study or educational purposes.
Information has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Musculoskeletal Australia.
Produced in partnership with Austin Health.