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Some statistics from the Pain Australia Website

  • 3.37 million Australians were living with chronic pain in 2020. 53.8% are women (1.81 million) and 46.2% are men (1.56 million).
  • 68.3% (2.30 million) are of working age.
  • For the majority (56%) of Australians living with chronic pain, their pain restricts what activities they can undertake.
  • 1.03 million older Australians (65 years and over) were living with chronic pain, with rates almost twice as high as the working age population.
  • The prevalence of chronic pain was estimated to increase from 3.37 million Australians in 2020 to 5.23 million people by 2050.

These numbers are pretty daunting but on the plus side we know so much more how pain works and how to help those in pain get back to living life to the full thanks to some amazing researchers and clinicians. For some useful pain facts, stories and excellent advice watch the video here or visit the Pain Ed website.

Pain is often accompanied by feelings of fear, anxiety and frustration. When we experience pain we tense, we move differently, we often breath hold and brace against the pain to protect the part of us which hurts. That’s a really sensible thing to do in an acute situation – our brain sends very strong messages to protect, to seek help and treatment if needed.

The problem arises when the natural tissue repair process is complete we are still moving in the same way, breath holding, mouth breathing, using the upper chest/neck muscles to breathe, bracing with our belly muscles. This is no longer helpful. Our brains are still receiving messages from the body that we are in some danger, it therefore ramps up the pain and a vicious cycle is nicely in place.
How does breathing correction help? 

Learning to bring our breathing back in balance with our body’s needs calms the nervous system, we feel safer to move, our muscles can learn to work for us, our diaphragm can do its job, food for the brain and body is restored through healthy blood flow, we feel better, the pain messages quieten down, we can get stronger and fitter and back to living our best life.