• Di von Essen

Innovative Treatments for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects one in five Australians and can have profound effects on many aspects of a person’s life.

It is complex and often difficult to treat. Oral pain medications may offer some relief, but many come with intolerable side effects and may eventually stop working. Adding to that is the ongoing opioid crisis and the changes to the PBS that have made it more difficult for patients to access medications such as codeine.

Injectable medications offer a potentially longer-lasting and more tolerable option. Recent advances include chemically engineered drug delivery systems that are injected directly into the epidural space of the spine in order to treat inflammation and the sciatic pain associated with degenerated spinal discs.

Alternatively, chronic pain may be managed with a medical device. These include external or implantable neurostimulators that deliver electrical current to the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or muscles, to treat neuropathic or mechanical pain by interrupting pain signals or restoring spine stability.

Both options may offer significant, long-term pain relief, improved function, and a reduced need for oral medications.

Clinical trials can offer free access to new pharmaceutical technologies or medical devices for pain management, which is particularly helpful for people who are not covered by private health insurance.

Clinical trials are research studies in which eligible patients (or healthy volunteers) trial potential new treatments under the direction and care of a medical professional, usually a specialist physician. The safety of the participants is ensured by government agencies and research ethics committees.

Here in Newcastle, there are a number of doctors and institutions conducting clinical research, including first-in-the-world clinical trials of new treatments for chronic pain. Genesis Research Services is a clinical trials centre in Newcastle that provides safe access to potential new treatments for chronic pain for our local community. Lead by experienced pain physicians, rheumatologists, and other doctors, Genesis has run numerous clinical trials involving cutting-edge pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

To view a list of currently enrolling or upcoming clinical trials at Genesis and register your interest, visit www.genesisresearchservices.com/join-a-trial

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