Limited evidence to measure the impact of chronic pain on health outcomes of Indigenous people

Manasi Murthy Mittinty, Daniel W. McNeil, Lisa M. Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

6 Citations (Scopus)


Pain defined as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage” [1], is a major health care crisis of this century. It is also one of the leading causes for health service utilisation in Australia, costing $34 billion per annum to the economy [2]. The number of lives affected by pain would be very high, if the emotional, physical, and financial challenges of those caring for people experiencing pain were added up.

Pain is often differentiated as either chronic or acute, both of which are important issues in the human experience and in healthcare. However, Australia is currently facing an exploding epidemic of chronic pain [3]. Primarily because chronic pain typically is not a straightforward physical problem but is accompanied with psychological, emotional and social distress, which challenges its management especially for cultural minority groups. Cultural and social environment, which is inclusive of beliefs, customs, languages, relationships with self, society and environment significantly influences how an individual experiences pain (which is defined in terms as a psychological experience-with emotional and behavioural components). Culture can also encourage adverse health beliefs [4], which are central to negative experiences with health care [5,6]. It is therefore imperative to understand the cultural epidemiology of pain to understand how culture and belief system influence the pain experience for Australia's most marginalised populations, Indigenous Australians. This will allow us to expand our understanding of psychological (thoughts, feelings, behaviours) and social (culture, networks) factors guiding the pain experienced by Indigenous Australians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-54
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic pain
  • Indigenous people
  • Australia
  • health service utilisation


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