Pain Management Department
How we can help you
We help you manage your pain and its impact on your life. We focus on the medical, physical, social, psychological and environmental factors associated with pain.
We can help you develop a plan to:
- reduce how much pain you are feeling
- increase what you can do
- regain control of your life, and
- improve the quality of your life.
We are a team of health professionals, based in the Hospital, who will work with you to help you manage your pain.
Our doctors specialise in pain medicine, anaesthesia, geriatric medicine, addiction medicine, psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine. They will help you:
- Understand your pain and what may be causing it
- Reduce your pain using medicines and other treatments
- Maximise what you are able to do when you have pain
- Understand how your pain is affecting your physical and emotional health
- Use prescribed pain medicines safely
- Manage short term experiences of acute pain such as after having surgery.
Our nurses will assess your pain, give you education and pain treatments. Our nurses can help answer questions you have about treatments or medicines. Our nurses also will work with you in our pain programs, focusing on mindfulness and medicines.
Our physiotherapist will have time to explain what is happening when your body is in pain and how that can impact how you move and use your body. They can assess how you are moving and help you find more comfortable ways to move and use your body. They can help you get back to doing things that are important to you like exercise, work, or hobbies. They can work with you face to face in the hospital or via telehealth and within group pain management programs and exercise groups.
Our clinical psychologists will explore how you are coping with your pain and its impact on your life (mood, stress, sleep, family, work and leisure activities). They can help you manage unhelpful thoughts that cause distress and lead you away from what you want to be doing. They can help you learn effective strategies for managing pain, such as pacing activities, meditation and flare-up planning.
Hospital pharmacy can tell you about how to take your medicines safely and make sure your pain medicines work with your other medicines.
Our Occupational Therapist is available to help you to be as independent as you can in your daily functional activities. They may suggest some strategies or aids to help facilitate your independence.
Our social worker is available to help you with practical social and emotional issues that you may experience. They can also provide you with information and education around what other community services are available.
We provide the following services:
Acute pain management
While you are in hospital, our team will help you deal with any pain related to your medical condition, trauma or surgery. Our team visits the wards each day and we are on-call 24 hours a day.
We use a range of medicines to try to relieve pain. Some of them you receive through an infusion. Sometimes you can manage this medicine yourself through a special machine. Other medicines we use include tablets or injections which can help with pain.
Our outpatient clinic for persistent (chronic) pain
Some people experience long term ongoing pain. Our team can work with you to find out what might be causing your pain, how best to minimise it and how you can develop some strategies to cope better with this pain. Treatments include medicines and injections, electrical stimulation devices, exercise therapies, pain education, practicing meditation and relaxation techniques and reviewing your home, leisure and work environments. Some of these are offered to you individually. Others are offered on a group basis. They are generally undertaken in the outpatient setting but some treatments may require a brief stay in hospital.
Pain self-management programs
Our team offers pain management treatment programs in group and individual format to give you the knowledge and skills you need to manage your persistent pain, to improve your quality of life and to function as well as possible. Our pain specialist, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, and physiotherapist will assess whether these programs would be suitable for you.
Our programs include:
Pain Clinic Education -
75 minute sessions that are run twice per month and can be attended face to face at the hospital or via telehealth. They help you learn useful pain management strategies which can help you:
- Plan and pace your activities without making pain worse
- Get back to things you have stopped doing because of pain
- Become fitter and stronger
- Turn down the volume of your pain
- Use medications in the most helpful way
This might be all the help you need to better manage your persistent pain problem. We will also introduce our pain management programs. We will explain how you can work with our team of psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapist and nurses.
Brief Pain Management Program
Our Pain Management team offers a small group pain management program called ACTIVE. The best treatment for managing persistent pain is the use of active self-management strategies such as exercise, healthy living and meditation. The program runs for 3 hours per week for 6 weeks. You have the option of participating in the program by telehealth from your home, or face-to-face at the hospital.
ACTIVE Exercise Group
This is a physiotherapist-led exercise group for patients who have completed programs with our physiotherapists. It is a 1 hour session which incorporates whole body stretching and strengthening routine and brief mindfulness meditation. The sessions can be attended face to face in the hospital or via telehealth.
Mindfulness-based wellness program
This is facilitated by our nursing team – 1.5 hours per week for 8 weeks. This program runs face to face in hospital or via telehealth.
Cancer Pain Management
Our team will work with our Hospital's cancer and palliative care teams to help manage your pain from cancer.
Complex pain services
Our department is also a referral centre for patients requiring more complex pain assessment and management.
We provide advice and care for people living in regional and remote areas through our telehealth clinic. This means that we communicate with you through a video link on your computer screen. Once we have your referral we will contact you and discuss how this works.
You need a referral letter from your local general practitioner (GP) or specialist to make an appointment with our pain clinic. The referral letter should include your medical history, relevant scans or x-ray results and what medicines you are taking. It should be sent to the Department of Pain Management, Prince of Wales Hospital, Barker Street, Randwick, NSW 2031 or faxed to 9382 2870.
Once we have received your referral letter, we will send you questionnaires which you will need to complete and return to us. You can do these online if you include your email address in your referral. The questionnaires help us understand your pain and which team members you should meet in your appointment.
Clinic days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
If we have your mobile phone number in our system you will receive a text message reminding you of your appointment date and time 3 days before your appointment.
You can register with the Telstra HealthNOW mobile application (app) to receive appointment details and reminders on your mobile phone.
HealthNow allows us to send you mobile text messages about your appointments. HealthNow provides you with:
- Instant notification about appointment bookings
- Calendar reminders about appointments
- Google maps to help you get to the appointment safely
- Internal hospital maps to help you find the clinic
You may receive a text message from us asking you to download and register with HealthNow. This is not spam and it is safe to use.
If you need to change your appointment time or you decide you do not want to attend the Pain Clinic, please ring us on 9382 2863.
You may also be contacted by our allied health staff (e.g. physiotherapist, clinical psychologist, and occupational therapist) regarding specific appointments.
Depending on what pain you are experiencing, we will prioritise your appointment. For example, if you have severe pain from cancer or an acute form of pain, we will try to see you within two weeks.
In general, the waiting times can be up to three months or more but we will try to see you earlier if it is possible.
- Your Medicare card or Veteran Affairs card.
- A list of your medicines including any herbal or over the counter medicines.
- Any recent x rays or medical images and their reports.
- Insurer details if you are claiming workers compensation, public liability or third party insurance.
In your first appointment, you may see either a pain specialist alone or a team of specialists including the doctor, clinical psychologist and physiotherapist. If we need to do further assessments, we will arrange another time to do this. We will work with you to develop a pain managment plan.
Make an appointment with your local family doctor to talk to them first. If your local doctor needs some advice they can contact us.
Websites on chronic pain
- Chronic Pain Australia www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au
- Australian Pain Management Association www.painmanagement.org.au
- Pain Australia www.painaustralia.org.au
- Mind Spot www.mindspot.org.au
- This way up www.thiswayup.org.au
Brainman brief educational videos:
- Understanding pain in less than 5 minutes, and what to do about it!
- Understanding Pain: Brainman stops his opioids
- Understanding Pain: Brainman chooses
Books on pain
Rewire your pain: an evidence based approach to reduce chronic pain. Davies S, Cooke N, Sutton J.
Explain Pain. Butler, D. S., & Moseley, G. L.
Manage your pain: practical and positive ways of adapting to chronic pain. Nicholas M, Molloy A, Tonkin L, Beeston L.
The Pain Book, finding hope when it hurts. Siddall P, McCabe C, Murray R.
We are dedicated to learning more about what causes pain and more effective ways people can deal with pain. We are also interested in monitoring some of the medicines people use for their pain. We do this in partnership with other research teams and health services.
We may ask you if you would like to be part of our research. You have the right to say no. If you do so, this will not impact on the services we provide to you.
Training and Education
Prince of Wales Hospital is a public teaching hospital. Our department is actively involved in teaching medical students, doctors, nursing and other health care staff about how to best manage pain. We are also accredited with the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists to provide specialist training for doctors to specialise in the area of pain medicine. You may be asked to be involved in research or for a student to be present at your appointment. You have a right to say no. If you do so, this will no impact in any way on the services we will provide.
Please let us know if you need an interpreter. You can contact us telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. Tell the operator what language you speak and then ask the interpreter to set up a telephone conversation between you, an interpreter, and the healthcare professional you want to speak with.