Yesterday I attended the Chronic Pain Awareness Week Consumer Forum being held by Chronic Pain Australia at the Art Gallery of NSW. The day started with a morning tea which allowed everyone to meet in an informal setting before moving to the lecture theatre to start the Forum. I have mixed feelings about the Forum itself, the lecture giving a medical view on chronic pain and how it affects the nervous system and the Q&A panel with leading experts on chronic pain were really interesting and informative, but the middle two papers on narrative based practice (which was never properly explained) and the importance of reading labels on your medications just left me cold.
However, the reason I went to the Forum in the first place was to meet other people living with chronic pain and I met a fantastic group of people and swapped email addresses. It was great sitting around lunch sharing our tales of navigating the medical system and dealing with doctors who didn’t have a clue. It was a bit frightening that everyone had the same experience of doctors not believing them and treating them inappropriately. There is a real problem with doctors, especially GPs, in Australia not knowing what to do with patients who experience chronic pain. Maybe with more information being out there and the promotion of Chronic Pain Australia, this huge knowledge hole can be filled and patients in the future won’t have to go through the trials that we did to get decent medical treatment.