New resource guide for chronic pain sufferers
From Fraser Health. As many as one in five of us may be enduring some form of persistent pain that has lasted six months or longer.
Fraser health’s new chronic pain section provides a wealth of resources to promote understanding of chronic pain and how to manage it.
Understand Chronic Pain
What is chronic pain?
.Chronic pain is pain that has lasted for six months or longer – either continuous pain or frequent recurring episodes. Chronic pain may sometimes be a symptom of a chronic disease; however, for many, chronic pain is its own problem and can be a result of complex changes in the nervous system.
How is chronic pain diagnosed?
Your doctor can find out if you have chronic pain by asking about your past medical history, performing a physical examination or ordering specific tests.
Will this pain last forever?
It is sometimes difficult to give a prognosis when you have chronic pain. Unfortunately, for many, the pain cannot be totally cured and there is often no ‘magic fix’.
The good news is that a combination of medications and interventions (where relevant) as well as exercises, activity, self management strategies and mind-body techniques can help reduce the pain intensity and improve your quality of life.
Videos: Understanding Pain
Watch these videos to learn more about chronic pain
Specific pain conditions: Interactive pain conditions body map
Use the Pain Resource Centre’s interactive body map tool to learn about specific pain conditions, including treatment and management.
Also, visit HealthLink BC for information on specific chronic pain conditions.
Manage Chronic Pain
Find helpful tips and reliable resources to help manage your pain.
- Self-Management and Peer Support
Free workshops to help manage pain and find support
- Pain Medication
Different types of pain medication, side effects and concerns about addiction
- Daily Living Activities
Prioritize, plan and pace day-to-day activities
Develop healthy sleep habits and find resources for better sleep
Ways to improve your mood and develop healthy thinking
- Stress and Anxiety
Relaxation techniques to cope with stress and anxiety
Benefits of staying active even with pain
- Nutrition and Diet
Benefits of a healthy diet and nutrition guidelines
Income assistance and other benefits available
- In the Workplace
How to create a pain-friendly work environment
- Relationships and Caregiver Support
Communicating with your loved ones and support for caregivers
Access Chronic Pain Care
Seeking professional help
It’s important to see your health care provider if you have new pain, your pain gets worse, or your treatment isn’t managing your pain.
Communicating with your health care provider
Good communication with your health care provider is vital to getting the help you need.
- Use a pain diary to help you identify patterns in your daily life that have an impact on your pain. When you understand your personal pain triggers, you and your health care provider can deal with them more effectively.
- Describe your pain using words like throbbing, stabbing, burning, aching, tingling, dull, pressing, numb, or electric shock
- Rate your pain on a scale of 0-10
- Make sure to tell your health care provider about any medicines or herbal supplements you take. The combination of medicines and supplements can make the pain medicine less effective or even cause more harm.
- Bring a family member or friend along to medical visits to make sure you don’t miss any important information.
Find more tips on how to make the most of your appointments, including helpful forms.
Physiotherapists focus on physical function and movement. They work with you to set goals to promote optimal mobility, manage activity limitation, or rehabilitate an injury.
Physiotherapists work in private clinics, in hospitals, or for home health agencies. Search for a physiotherapist in your area or talk to your health care provider.
Occupational therapists work with you to help you live as independently as possible in everyday life – work, school, self-care, home and leisure. They assess and work with you to develop a plan to improve or restore your ability to participate in these day-to-day activities through:
- Training and education
- Getting aids and specialized equipment (eg. wheelchair)
- Assessing and modifying your home, school or work environments
- Providing relaxation therapy
Occupational therapists work in private clinics, hospitals, residential care facilities, community care clinics or employment centres. Find an occupational therapist near you.
Living with pain goes beyond the physical; it may affect you mentally and emotionally. Psychologists use cognitive-behavioural approaches to help you learn how to live life with chronic pain. Visit the BC Psychological Association to find a registered psychologist in BC (note: not all registered psychologists in BC are listed).
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine and can be used to reduce pain and treat certain health conditions. Acupuncturists use needles at specific points on the body to unblock energy flows through and around the body to restore balance. Each of the points relates to certain health problems or body functions. Speak with your health care provider for recommended acupuncturists.
Massage therapy may help to reduce tension and pain, improve blood flow, and encourage relaxation. Registered massage therapists (RMT) work with specific illnesses, injuries and disabilities. Learn more about conditions RMTs treat and assist with.
Pain clinics come in many different forms and can involve a variety of health care professionals such as but not limited to: doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologist, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and pharmacists that provide assessment and management for pain.
Our pain clinic is located at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey. Our focus is to help ease suffering from chronic pain so that it will no longer be a barrier to daily functioning and quality of life.
For a list of pain clinics and services in BC, visit the Pain BC website.
Community services and programs
Visit the British Columbia Resource Guide to find valuable chronic pain services, programs, support groups and organizations in your neighbourhood.
For Health Care Professionals
To support your patients
Assessment Tools and Clinical Guidelines
Assessment tools are useful resources to measure and trend the impact of pain on an individual’s life. These tools can help to measure pain severity, physical activity, mood and treatment progress
|Hunter Integrated Pain Service: Clinical Guidelines
Assist with better pain management for your patients
|Hunter Integrated Pain Service: Toolkit
Toolkit to assist primary care providers in chronic pain management
Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) Hotline
Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) provides family practitioners with access to telephone advice from chronic pain specialists.
RACE provides GPs with timely guidance (calls are returned within two hours, the majority of calls are returned within one hour) regarding assessment, management, and treatment of patients struggling with chronic pain.
- RACE phone numbers: 604-696-2131 or toll free 1-877-696-2131
- Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
For more information, please refer to Doctors of BC.
Community Resources and Programs
Find helpful community programs to refer your patients
|Self Management BC
Free courses to learn self-management techniques to manage pain
|Arthritis Society BC: Support Services
Resource guide on the various support services available in BC which will help people with arthritis manage their disease.
|BC Resource Guide
Search chronic pain services, programs, support groups and organizations in your neighbourhood.
Link to community, social and government services
|Pain BC: Support and Education
Pain toolkit and resources
Education and Training
Find upcoming conferences, professional training and education on pain.