- Neuropathic Pain
- Musculoskeletal Pain
- Neck Pain
- Facial Pain
- Arm and Shoulder Pain
- Hand Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Hip Pain
- Pelvic and Gynecological Pain
- Leg Pain
- Foot and Ankle Pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Cancer Pain
- Central and Thalamic Pain
- Pain associated with medical conditions like Multiple Sclerosis
- Phantom Limb Pain
- Post-Surgical Pain
- Post-Herpetic Neuralgia
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Non-Cardiac Chest Pain
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Psychogenic Pain
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Pain
How We Can Help
Chronic Pain is any pain that lasts more than a few problems and it is a very complex problem. When someone first develops pain that may be the only issue. However, over time other problems develop. For example, there may be work problems, difficulties within the family, or withdraw from social and leisure activities. There may also be sleep problems, depression, anxiety, or things like using alcohol or drugs to cope. Over a relatively short period of time the person’s body can also change, so they become tighter and weaker in certain areas, or they may avoid certain movements that cause pain. All these issues make the problem bigger than just the pain itself.
At the Western Sydney Centre we understand chronic pain and all the problems that come with it. We have access to the full range of chronic pain treatments available today. These include medical interventions, spinal cord stimulation and neuromodulation, physical reconditioning programmes, chronic pain physiotherapy, radiofrequency lesions, pain management programmes, drug health, fit for work programmes, and chronic pain clinical psychology.
The team at Western Sydney Pain Centre are some of the most experienced you will find, and their commitment to helping people with chronic pain is second to none. We know how to help someone who has been struggling with pain, and we know how to work with them to help them get their life back. We regularly help people to improve their pain, get back to work, improve their relationships, start up new hobbies and interests, get back into family life, and so on.
Our Penrith practice can be contacted on 02 4721 3016, or by email at email@example.com
When you first call the centre we will briefly discuss your needs to determine who is the right pain specialist for you to see. We will then recommend some appointment times for you. We will also discuss the consultation fees with you at that time.
If you are attending under Medicare you will need a referral from your GP or a medical specialist. You can make the appointment without the referral but you will need it when you attend. If you do not bring a referral you may need to pay the full fee without getting a Medicare rebate. If you have workers compensation, motor vehicle accident, Department of Veterans Affairs or another form of insurance they may pay for the consultation. You need to obtain approval for the consultation prior to attending or you will need to pay for the consultation on the day.
Psychology and physiotherapy consultations may be partly covered by Medicare. Only a GP can refer to a physiotherapist, while a GP or psychiatrist can refer to a psychologist. Please note that as a private practice we do not bulk bill. As such you will need to pay for the consultation on the day and then claim back the Medicare rebate. We have full eftpos and Medicare online facilities available, and also accept cash and cheque payments. If you link your Medicare card to your back account we can process the Medicare rebate for you and you should receive it within twenty-four hours of making the payment.
What to Do Beforehand
Before attending your first appointment there are some things you can do to ensure that your doctor is best able to help you:
- Complete the pain clinic questionnaires and send them back to us. Click here to download the questionnaires, or go to pull down menu at the top and you’ll see the questionnaires there. We ask the questions in the questionnaire with the objective of better understanding your problems. If you are uncomfortable answering any questions please feel free to leave them and we can talk through any issues through with you when we see you. Then either post or scan and email them to us
- Put together a list of your current medications, including the doses and how often you take them, and bring that with you
- Bring all your previous medical imaging and reports
- Bring along a copy of your referral with you
What to expect on the day
Your first consultation is an assessment and will most likely be with a pain specialist, who is a medical doctor with advanced training in pain management. The appointment will be between forty-five minutes and one hour. Your doctor will talk with you about the centre and how we can help. They will also find out what you hope to gain from coming to us. They will then conduct a thorough medical assessment, and will take a history of your pain. The assessment also includes questions about work, family, your psychological history and so on. This is so your doctor can understand you and the impact or your pain better, and so the centre can develop a comprehensive treatment plan for you.
At the end of the assessment your doctor will make some recommendations. This may involve some initial medication treatment, and it will also most likely involve you seeing other members of the team. After these assessments are complete we will develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
After the first session your doctor will write a letter to the person that referred you to us. If you see other members of the team they will also write similar letters.
Please understand that sometimes people we see have acute medical problems that need immediate attention. In addition the nature of chronic pain means that people attending the clinic can be running late, sometimes because of their pain or sometimes because they come a long way to see us. These issues can mean that your doctor may be running late on the day to see you. Please allow extra time when you come to see us and please be patient, your doctor wants to ensure that everyone gets effective and appropriate help.
Our fees should have been discussed with you when you booked your appointment. If not please speak with us and we will provide you with whatever information you need. It would be appreciated if you could settle you fees on the day of your appointment.
If you have a current Workers Compensation or motor vehicle accident insurance claim the fee may be covered by your insurer. Please be sure to obtain approval prior to attending the clinic. Otherwise you will need to pay the fee on the day and claim it back from your insurer.
If you need to cancel your appointment, please contact us as soon as possible. Given that clinic and clinician time is valuable, cancellations within 48 hours of the appointment will incur a cancellation fee equal to the consultation fee. If you cancel more than once with less than 48 hours notice we may ask you to pre-pay for future appointments.
The most important aspect in treatment is ensuring that it is ‘evidence-based’. There are so many treatments being offered today that sound good but have no research to support them. You should be suspicious of anything that offers a cure for chronic pain. You can be 100% sure that if there was a cure we would know about it and would recommend it to you.
What does ‘evidence-based’ mean? It means that professional university based researchers have conducted trials to determine whether the treatment is helpful for people with chronic pain, and whether it is harmful. There are standards for how these trials are conducted that should be followed. Then the outcomes should be published in respected academic journals, where other academics and professionals can review the research and critique it. This is what makes a treatment ‘evidence-based’.You do not need to worry about working out whether something is ‘evidence-based’, however. Your team and the pain centre keep up to date with the latest evidence and only use treatments that meet appropriate standards.
Treatment offered at the centre includes:
There are many medications available today for the treatment of chronic pain. They type of medication recommended with depend on the type of pain, other medications being taken, other medical issues, and so on.
An effective physical programme is central to overcoming chronic pain and improving quality of life. Often the pain itself can make it hard to engage in such a programme and so a stepped approach is necessary. Graded exercise and activity programmes have excellent research evidence and form a central part of our treatment plans.
Diagnostic + Therapeutic Injections
Your pain specialist has advanced training in these procedures. They typically involve an injection to the area where you have pain. The injection can be used to diagnose your pain or to provide ongoing pain relief. They period of relief varies greatly. Importantly, however, injections can provide enough relief for you work on a physical reconditioning programme that has the potential for long term benefits.
Neurostimulation + Neuromodulation
This is a specialist procedure that your pain specialist will have advanced training in. It involves placing one or more micro wires in the spinal cord. A tiny device then stimulates the nerves through the wires leading to pain relief. In the right person this approach can provide long term reductions in pain.
Pain Management Programmes
Many people with chronic pain around the world have benefitted from these programmes. Typically they involve attending weekly sessions for a short period of time. They include education about chronic pain, an activity and exercise programme, support, and developing effective coping strategies.
Clinical psychologists have traditionally worked in two areas with people with chronic pain. First, pain affects people and their life. They may develop depression, insomnia, anxiety, pain attacks, drug or alcohol problems, relationship conflict and so on. Clinical psychologists can help with these problems. Second, clinical psychologists have traditionally been involved in helping people learn effective coping skills, such as relaxation and meditation, pacing, dealing with flare-ups and so on.
Radiofrequency lesion treatment involves using a small current to reduce the activity of a nerve that is causing pain. This is most effective when pain is localized.
Some people may develop dependence on medications prescribed to treat chronic pain. This can be a problem if the medications are not providing effective pain relief, where there are problematic side effects, or where the dose escalates without any positive impact on physical functioning. Where dependence and addiction have become a problem our drug health experts can be helpful.
At this it may be helpful to be admitted to hospital for treatment. For example, you may benefit from being in hospital to undergo a rehabilitation programme, or to reduce the amount of strong pain medications you are taking.
Work plays such a major role in a person’s life and without there many problems can emerge in addition to the obvious financial stresses. Occupational rehabilitation specialists are experts in helping people get back to work.