"Stopping opioid use however is easier said than done. Many patients fear their pain will become unbearable and doctors find it difficult to explain to patients why opioid medications are no longer recommended.
"Patients must be provided with strategies to help them cope as part of a multi-disciplinary pain management approach. This includes regular exercise and physiotherapy, nutrition planning, pain education, and the use of cognitive and behavioural strategies to help manage pain flare ups.
"We need to raise community awareness of chronic pain, increase pain education across the healthcare system and provide better access to non-pharmacological approaches to pain management."
Those comments have been echoed by Associate Professor Paul Wrigley, a pain medicine specialist physician and Kolling researcher.
"Reducing a person’s reliance on opioids as a primary way of managing their pain is important, but the complexities of each person’s situation need to be considered and extra support offered where necessary.
"There are many easily accessible, practical resources to guide healthcare professionals, such as the ACI Pain Management Network Opioid Quicksteps, however more promotion of these resources is needed."