Chronic Pain Forum 2021

We have prepared a video series with different specialists in pain management to raise awareness about pain, pain management and all the great work that pain professionals do during September Pain Awareness Month.

We would love to learn more about you.

Pain-related Research and Trials

Pain research is crucial. It allows us to better understand the causes and consequences of persistent pain, how to prevent it and how to minimise its impact. 

About Genesis Research Services

In this video, Eleanor Ramsey, Michael Holt, Heather Macdonald, Mohamad Allhayley, from Genesis Research Services, will explain the importance of research and trials to find appropriate treatments for chronic pain.  


|For chronic pain studies, we look for people who have had pain for at least 3 months that has not been resolved with conservative therapies such as physical therapy or medications. 


2021 Global Year of Back Pain

The International Association for the Study of Pain IASP has dedicated 2021 as the Global Year of Back Pain.

This year’s theme focuses on helping clinicians, scientists, those living with pain, and the public understand the nature of back pain and the utility of available treatment modalities. 


Multidisciplinary Pain Management

Acute Back Pain

Acute back pain usually comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. It is sharp in quality. Acute pain usually doesn't last longer than six months. It goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause for the pain.


Chronic Low Back Pain 

Having persistent chronic back pain is extremely challenging for any individual because all those normal activities such as walking, playing with the kids and exercising, hurt. In this video Dr Russo explains what is the best approach to manage chronic low back pain.


The role of nurses in back pain management 

Evidence has shown that management of back pain is most effective with a multi-modal approach. Pain Nurses identify and assess patients, becoming part of the care team for the patient and playing a crucial role in their treatment for chronic back pain.

|The patient has the opportunity to develop a therapeutic relationship with their specialised nurse ensuring continuity of care.


Myth-busting treatment and exercise for back pain

When we feel pain, our natural response is to stop moving. When in fact, movement is one of the best treatments we have for back pain. David Elvish from Workplace Physiotherapy talks about some popular beliefs that we tend to associate with back pain such as posture and 'right' ways to lift objects.


The role of a Psychiatrist in Pain Management

We constantly say that chronic pain is complex because to treat pain effectively, we must address the physical, emotional and psychological aspects. If you have been referred to a psychiatrist to manage your pain, please know this is quite common.

|The brain and the body are intrinsically connected. Without settling the brain, it's difficult to settle the pain down.

Psychological Aspects of Chronic Pain - A Case Study

Psychological treatments are an important part of pain management. Understanding and managing the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that accompany the discomfort can actually reduce the intensity of their pain.

Watch Leigh Health and Nataja discuss a case study to showcase how psychology can play a part in people coping with their pain more effectively.


Our Specialist Pain Medicine Physicians


Dr Cillian Suiter


Dr Cillian Suiter is an Irish-trained Pain Specialist and Anaesthesiologist. Cillian also has a post-graduate diploma in Patient Safety and Healthcare Simulation from the National University of Ireland Galway, a Certificate in Clinical Research from Harvard University, and is currently in the process of completing a Masters's in leadership at the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.

Cillian completed his specialist anaesthesia training in Ireland and went on to do 2 years of specialist fellowship training in Ireland at Tallaght University Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital and the Mater University Hospital. He is interested in all aspects of chronic pain management and is currently working with Ass Prof. Marc Russo and Dr Willem Volschenk at Hunter Pain Specialists for further sub-specialist experience in advanced pain management techniques.

Dr Marc Russo

Dr Marc Russo


Dr Marc Russo is the Director of Hunter Pain Specialists, Hamilton Day Surgery Centre, Genesis Research Services and Co-Director of the Innervate Pain Management Program.

He developed Australia’s first private multidisciplinary pain management model. Using this approach with clinical diligence, early intervention, education and research in the field of pain management, Dr Russo successfully treats patients suffering from chronic persistent pain.

Dr Russo specialises in spinal cord stimulator implantation and completed two successful world-first spinal cord stimulator device implantations in Newcastle in 2011. He treats patients with a wide range of interventional pain medicine approaches, including a combination of pharmacotherapy and systems approaches.

Dr Willem Volschenk

Dr Willem Volschenk


Dr Willem Volschenk consults in pain medicine through Hunter Pain Specialists at Broadmeadow in Newcastle and Tuggerah on the Central Coast. He operates at Hamilton Day Surgery, Lingard Private Hospital and Newcastle Private Hospital.

Dr Volschenk completed his postgraduate Specialist Anaesthetic training in Natal, becoming a Fellow of the South African College of Anaethetists. He acquired his postgraduate Australian Anaesthetic and Pain Management Fellowships in Australia, holding a dual fellowship in both Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia.

Dr Volschenk is the supervisor of training for pain medicine at Hunter Pain Specialists, an accredited training site for the Fellowship of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthesia.