30 Apr Reaching out to women in pain
Chronic pain affects tens of thousands of people in Western Australia alone. Many of these sufferers are women, and many don’t have access to the most up-to-date information simply because of where they live.
If information about how pain works and the different pain management options available were available in one place, some of the barriers to making positive decisions about pain management would be removed.
With the support of a grant from the Department of Local Government and Communities, the WA National Pain Week committee compiled the most valuable information from their events into a series of forums called ‘Reaching Out to Women in Pain’. The forums provided women in the outer suburbs of Perth with the information they need to understand the options available to them so that they can make more informed choices for the way they manage their pain.
The first of these free events in Rockingham was filled to the seams with women suffering from conditions like Fibromyalgia, arthritis and other persistent pain conditions. Women drove in from Bunbury and Chittering to the Kalamunda session and attendees at Joondalup said that this was one of the only support services available in their area.
Over the day they heard from:
- Rheumatologist, John Quintner, explaining the science behind pain and traditional treatments (including how medications might not have the effect you expect)
- Melanie Galbraith physiotherapist gave advice for exercising safely and talked about how important it is to move,
- Jane Muirhead, occupational therapist, and
- Rachael West, Yogic Educator, on the role of body awareness and stress management in changing how we feel about pain.
Some of the most valuable learning experiences described by participants included:
“I forgot that I’m not the only person experiencing persistent pain”
“How to exercise within my limits”
“Using other means to reduce pain rather than relying on prescribed drugs”
“Recognition of what happens in the body as a result of pain and stress”
They also said:
“I found it very enlightening and inspiring to focus on exercise to aid me physically and mentally”
“Today’s session was extremely informative – presented in a knowledgeable, professional, friendly way”
“…supported by empirical evidence”
“Excellent – very informative. All very good speakers and explained in simple terms (& took time to get across their points)”
While the information was immensely valuable, many women said that the most important thing for them was simply feeling validated. When we feel validated about our experience of our health, we have a place to begin our healing.