Amongst OECD nations rated by the Better Life Index, Australians are situated mostly in the "pretty happy bunch" category. The study found Australians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 83% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc. ) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). The OECD average was 76%. When it comes to our health, Australia ranks above the OECD average in terms of total health spending per person. Pain and associated treatments is a leading contributor to our higher health bills.
Here are some interesting facts about pain in Australia:
- One in five Australians lives with chronic pain including adolescents and children. This prevalence rises to one in three people over the age of 65.
- One in five GP consultations involve a patient with chronic pain and almost 5% report severe, disabling chronic pain.
- About 80% of people with chronic pain can be effectively treated but current statistics show that less than 50% of people are getting appropriate treatment.
- The prevalence of chronic pain is projected to increase as Australia's population ages – from around 3.2 million in 2007 to 5 million by 2050.
- Chronic pain is estimated to cost the Australian economy about $34 billion a year, making it Australia's third most costly health condition after cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal conditions (also associated with chronic pain).
- Arthritis and back problems, both associated with chronic pain are the most common causes for people of working age (between 45 and 64) to drop out of the workforce, accounting for 40% of forced retirements – around 280,000 people in 2012.
Can you use Laser Therapy for Pain Relief?
If you have chronic pain, you know how debilitating it can be, physically and mentally. It can prevent you from completing routine activities and undermines your ability to cope with everyday stress.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT), or cold laser therapy as it's also known, is a non-invasive treatment and is widely used by health practitioners to complement other therapies, such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy and massage therapy.
Many researchers have reported pain reduction with low level laser therapy in acute and chronic painful conditions.
“Laser therapy has been thought to be useful in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through its analgesic, myorelaxant, tissue healing, and biostimulation effects” (Gam et al 1993, Jacobsen et al 1997, Djavid et al 2003, Chow and Barnsley 2005).
A portable cold laser therapy device (such as the Handy Cure Laser device) may also be recommended for use at home in between clinical visits, and combined with other treatments such as exercise.