Pain Education Programs

What is persistent pain?

Persistent pain (sometimes known as chronic pain) is pain that lasts for more than 3 months (Better Health Channel, 2018). Persistent pain is a health condition that can cause sensitivity in the nervous system when it has been present for a while. This can be quite separate to the original injury you experienced.

Although two people may have the same pain condition, their experience of living with pain can be very different (Painaustralia, 2019).

What is a Pain Education Program?

A Pain Education Program can provide information, support and resources to help you manage persistent pain. When delivered digitally, a program can include:

  • apps
  • online support communities
  • web chats
  • emails
  • telephone counselling

Digital Pain Education Programs are an effective way to help treat persistent pain. They are discreet, accessible at any time and often self-directed. Most are free or low-cost. If there is a cost, please contact the TAC before starting.

A Pain Education Program is distinct from a Pain Management Program, which is a more tailored, intensive program under the direction of a pain management provider.

Who should use a Pain Education Program?

These programs may benefit you if:

  • You have pain that has lasted more than 3 months
  • You would like to understand more about your pain and how to manage it
  • You are thinking about attending a Pain Management Program
  • You have attended a Pain Management Program and feel like you need some more help
  • Your symptoms are not getting better or are getting worse
  • You experience severe depression, anxiety or have a post-traumatic stress disorder
  • You take high doses of pain medications
  • You have limited English skills or have difficulty reading
  • You are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Top tips for Pain Education Programs

  1. Be patient with the registration process – you only have to do it once!
  2. If the program you are using asks how you are when you log in, answering can provide you with important information about your progress.
  3. Set aside a time of day and week to work on the program. Treat it like you would an appointment with a professional.
  4. Keep a notebook or journal to record your thoughts as you move through the course.
  5. Download and print out resources you might want to refer back to. You might even like to take screenshots of things that are important for you in the programs and paste them onto a document of your own.
  6. Use your mobile phone camera to take a photo of any particularly useful points so you have them on hand no matter where you are.
  7. Don’t try and do the program all at once. Give yourself time to do the tasks in each program and to think about what each part means to you.
  8. Set yourself goals each week to work on between program sessions.
  9. Ask for help if you have trouble with any of the content.
  10. Involve a supportive friend or relative in your use of the program – it’s good to have someone to discuss it with and they might find it useful too!
  11. Don’t expect to see benefits straight away. It takes time for new ideas to grow.

How to find a Pain Education Program

You can ask your treater if they know of an online course that could help you.

You can also search for information and providers online yourself. Some good resources are listed below.

Courses

THIS WAY UP

Cost: $59. If you need online mental health support in relation to the transport accident, we can fund access to THIS WAY UP. You will need to register and pay for the course and then send us your receipt for reimbursement. 
Websitehttps://thiswayup.org.au/how-we-can-help/courses/chronic-pain/

Chronic Pain-Reboot is only available for enrolment under clinician guidance. A referral can be obtained from your GP or other treater. Your GP can register online and prescribe a course that’s right for you.

THIS WAY UP Chronic Pain Reboot uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles and information from a range of different treaters to help you learn skills to cope and manage your pain over 8 sessions.


Mindspot

Cost: Free
Websitehttps://mindspot.org.au

MindSpot is an online treatment program that helps adults aged 18+ to manage the impact of persistent pain on their day-to-day life and emotional wellbeing.

The program provides information and skills that you would normally get from mental health therapists from a specialist pain clinic. There are 5 lessons over 8-weeks You can choose to receive weekly mental health therapist support during the course, or you can choose to contact MindSpot when you need to.

This course is free of charge to Australian residents and it is strongly recommended you discuss your participation in the course with your GP and other health treaters.


Websites

Painaustralia

https://www.painaustralia.org.au/

Painaustralia aims to improve the quality of life of people living with pain, their families, and carers and minimise the social and economic burden of pain on individuals and the community

Painaustralia provides information about pain, including a range of resources such as fact sheets.


painHEALTH

https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/

Provides easy to understand information about pain including videos of people who are living with persistent pain.


Better Health Channel

www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Provides easy to understand information about mental health and wellbeing.


ACI Pain Management Network

https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chronic-pain/chronic-pain

This website can help you gain a better understanding of your pain. It contains information to support you to develop skills and knowledge to manage your pain in partnership with your healthcare providers.

The website has a range of episodes for viewing over several days to weeks.


Tame the Beast

https://www.tamethebeast.org/

Tame the Beast is a free online education space that provides resources and videos about understanding and managing your pain.

The website includes a podcast with the real stories of people with lived experience of recovering from pain.


The Pain Toolkit

https://www.paintoolkit.org/

A website developed by the ‘pain management dude’ who lives with persistent pain. The website provides information, tools and resources about managing your pain, including The Pain Toolkit – a simple information booklet providing handy tips and skills to support you in managing your pain.


Other web resources

These videos provide further detail about persistent pain:


Telephone support services

Road Trauma Support Services

1300 367 797

Provides free phone or face to face counselling and support for people affected directly or indirectly by road trauma.

Open 9am to 5pm. Please call to make an appointment.


Beyond Blue

1300 224 636

Provides depression and anxiety support for all Australians.


Lifeline

13 11 14

Lifeline is a national charity that provides people experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.