Study into Chronic Pain in Maori yields vital information

A team working in Northland, Auckland, and at Middlemore Hospital has published important research which gives significant insights into managing chronic pain, especially among Maori.

In Aotearoa, one in five adults experiences chronic (long-term) pain, and Maori are more likely to experience this kind of pain than the rest of the population.

However, till now little research has looked at how pain services can best be provided for Maori.

A research team reviewed previous studies that has looked at chronic pain and pain management for tangata whenua and set about making clinical recommendations.

Research team leader Dana Antunovich said, “We found that Maori emphasised the links between pain and holistic wellbeing, and services need to address these broader dimensions of pain.

“To improve pain management for Maori, health services need to prevent racism and discrimination and use tikanga-informed practice. This is going to be extremely important going forward, as we strive to achieve equity of treatment and service across all populations.

Finally, Maori expressed the importance of having knowledge, choice, and autonomy to make decisions about pain management, and the study says services can better serve Maori by supporting these practices. 

In the research conclusions, several recommendations were made including, providing appropriate access to traditional Maaori therapies e.g. Rongoā, and removing barriers to referral and attendance at pain services

Other contributors to the latest research were Jordine Romana from Counties Manukau, Dr Gwyn Lewis and Dr Debbie Bean of AUT, and Eva Morunga from Te Toka Tumai [Auckland].

The findings of the research were published Friday, March 8th in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

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