Pain relief that doesn’t need a prescription
With medications containing codeine no longer available over the counter at Australian pharmacies, James Tobin discovers how to get more natural pain relief.
One in five Aussies, including teens and kids, lives with chronic pain – a figure that rises to one in three in people over 65.
Pain is our third-most costly health condition and one of the main reasons people seek medical help; yet it remains one of the most misunderstood areas of healthcare.
“The number of people dying from pain killers in Australia each year is now the same number as road fatalities,” he says.
Pain is something you feel in the body but that impacts your whole life. It’s a social thing, it’s a psychological thing, it’s financial, it’s your career, it is relentless.
Breaking the addiction
On The House of Wellness TV show, James Tobin met massage therapist and mum-of-two Leah Dwyer, who has been living with pain since suffering whiplash to her neck 10 years ago.
“Pain is something you feel in the body but that impacts your whole life. It’s a social thing, it’s a psychological thing, it’s financial, it’s your career, it is relentless.”
Leah says she became addicted to codeine and was taking 12 to 14 tablets a day before the new regulations forced her to seek alternatives.
She now manages her pain with exercise, regular massage, and low doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Reliving pain with acupuncture
James also experienced the ancient practice of acupuncture with Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association president Waveny Holland.
“In the 21st century it’s become the most popular form of chronic pain relief,” he says.
The alternative therapy involves inserting very fine needles at specific sites in the body to clear blockages and stimulate the flow of Qi, or energy.
Other drug-free options
Ultimately, James found a number of drug-free options for managing pain that are worth exploring.
“It’s really individual – it may be being outdoors more, exercising or walking, or it could be stretching, yoga, acupuncture,” he says.
Resident House of Wellness pharmacist Gerald Quigley agrees the new regulations around codeine have brought pain management issues to the fore, forcing people to look for alternatives.
“What it’s done is open up a whole plethora of options which have always been there but haven’t been mainstream so now we’re getting the actual issues covered,” he says.
Read more about pain management following James Tobin’s story from Sydney’s Pain Management Research Institute, the Ryde Natural Health Clinic and the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association and catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.