Riding for Pain raises awareness of chronic condition

Cycling, News, Sport — By on May 4, 2012 11:20 AM

Photo: Alyssa-Jane Tucker, OTR

By ALYSSA-JANE TUCKER.

UniSA’s inaugural Ride for Pain was held last Sunday, with approximately 500 riders braving wet conditions in a show of support for the one in five Australians who are suffering from chronic pain.

The community bike ride, supported by BikeSA, aimed to raise awareness and funds for research into chronic pain disorders.

Participating riders had the choice of two routes, a 100km Adelaide Hills endurance ride for the cycling enthusiasts or a leisurely 35km beach ride for recreational riders.

Approximately 400 riders participated in the endurance ride, and a further 100 enjoyed the leisure ride.

Founder of the event and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of South Australia, Lorimer Moseley said chronic pain was often stigmatised and overlooked as a serious issue.

Professor Moseley, a keen cyclist, hoped the ride would “position chronic pain in the minds of the community as a target for medical research and as a problem that needs to be addressed.”

Professor Moseley said chronic pain is “pain that persists beyond the normal healing time of the tissue involved,” and that it could be very debilitating.

“At the moment, treatments are not very effective,” he said.

Professor Moseley said there needs to be better “understanding of the problem” in order to improve the treatments available.

He said the ride had been very successful in drawing attention to the issue.

“People are talking about it,” he said.

“People are saying, ‘Yeah, my dad has shocking back pain- this is a good cause’.”

BikeSA Events Manager Russel Miatke said that cycling could be used to help treat some cases of chronic pain, but that it also had numerous other health benefits.

“Cycling can certainly be a useful tool for those undergoing rehabilitation from injury and many suggest that cycling has a beneficial effect on personal mental wellbeing and on managing stress,” Mr Miatke said.

Avid cycler, bike shop owner and sufferer of chronic back pain, Robert Tucker said he thought the ride was a great way to get people involved in cycling as well as raise awareness for chronic pain sufferers.

Mr Tucker said he found that cycling had helped ease some of his pain.

“For myself, I find cycling very therapeutic for my pain,” Mr Tucker said.

“It relaxes you and being outdoors really helps clear your mind and it’s very gentle on the body.”

He said that the ride had generated quite a lot of interest amongst his cycling colleagues.

“I had quite a few customers who participated in the ride,” Mr Tucker said.

“Most of them did it not only for the love of cycling, but also I think because this is an issue that effects so many people, and many can relate to.

“It definitely created a lot of buzz in the cycling circles I am involved in.”

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