We aim to provide the highest level of care for women and men of all ages. We want you to feel comfortable talking about any pelvic or perineal pain you’re experiencing, and we’ll use our years of experience to suggest medications and perform surgical treatments that may help alleviate your pain.

What is pain medicine?

Persistent or chronic pain is seen in every age group from paediatric to geriatric, and across all medical and surgical disciplines. Because of the complexity of persistent pain problems, multi or interdisciplinary pain centres such as WHRIA have been shown to provide the best outcomes.

Our pain medicine specialists serve as consultants to other physicians and also as principal treating physicians. Our pain specialists can:

  • prescribe medication
  • coordinate rehabilitative services
  • perform pain relieving procedures
  • provide counselling to patients and families
  • coordinate an interdisciplinary team
  • cooperate with other healthcare professionals
  • liaising with public and private agencies

Harnessing the inputs of a range of medical and allied health professionals, we can assess the multidimensional aspects of pain and formulate appropriate programs of treatment to control pain and improve body functions. Importantly, we provide clinical training services and foster basic science and clinical research in pain medicine.

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Qualifications and training

In Australia and New Zealand, a career in pain medicine is obtained by qualifying as a Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). The fellowship requires further specialist training of at least two years in all aspects of pain management.

We are one of the very few clinics in Australia to have practicing physicians who specialise in both gynaecology and pain medicine. This provides a thorough perspective on all areas of pain management for pelvic and abdominal pain.

Professor Thierry Vancaillie and Dr Jason Chow lead the team here at WHRIA and draw on their many years of experience to provide the best care. For more details on our individual gynaecologists and pain specialists, please see the Our Team section of this website.

What to expect on your first consultation

You should allow 30 to 45 minutes for the initial consultation, and wear comfortable, loose clothing as some disrobing may be required. It will include a thorough discussion of your medical history, taking into account all aspects of your health, including your mental fitness.

We’ll usually conduct a physical examination to help us determine which parts of your body may be contributing to your symptoms. We’ll typically look at your:

  • Musculoskeletal system: assessing your walk, posture, pelvis and other joints/soft tissues
  • Nervous system: checking your reflexes, skin sensations and other tests
  • Pelvic organs: often an internal and external examination
  • Genital skin
  • Inflammatory markers and hormonal levels: by way of a blood test

Your doctor may decide to perform imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI, or even a diagnostic pudendal nerve block, before a management plan can be discussed and developed with you. It is likely that the cause of your pain isn’t isolated to one area of your body, so your plan may include sessions with our pelvic floor physiotherapist, hypnotherapist, acupuncturist or osteopath.

Do I need a referral to see a pain medicine specialist?

Yes, to claim any Medicare rebates you will need a referral from your GP (valid for 12 months) or specialist (valid for 3 months).

Helpful resources

If you’d like more information about pain medicine at WHRIA, you can download the health information fact sheets from our Health Information section of this website, including

If you have a specific enquiry for our WHRIA specialists

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