Pain Awareness Week in Canada

Vancouver, Canada (PressExposure) November 02, 2009 -- November 1st marks the start of Pain Awareness Week in Canada and with approximately 25% of the adult population in BC suffering from chronic pain, it is important to highlight this silent epidemic and its impact on our society. Currently in British Columbia, 60-80% of patients report moderate to severe pain following surgery and up to 2/3 of cancer patients will have pain as part of their illness. Evidence also indicates that there is a major gap between what is known about pain and current pain care practices. Contributing to this gap is the inadequate pain care education received by health care professionals both in their undergraduate education and while practicing, even though pain is one of the most common issues dealt with on a daily basis.

The health care systems require redesign at all levels to accommodate the epidemic of pain. Further still is the fact that people in pain and their families are not adequately supported in self-management, leaving BC citizens of all ages suffering needlessly. The emotional impact not withstanding, in BC it is estimated that the annual direct and indirect costs of pain are $6.2 B annually with $1.3 B of that cost attributable to health care expenditures. In addition to the widespread human costs of inadequate pain care, pain is the 3rd mostly costly chronic condition behind cardiovascular and musculoskeletal.

To address this silent epidemic, the Pain BC Society (aka Pain BC) was instituted in March of 2009. Although a voluntary organization its membership represents a wide range of healthcare providers and members of the public. The function of the society is to provide leadership in reducing the burden of pain on individuals, families, communities, and society. This will be achieved through advocacy to influence policy, education of the public and health care providers, health system redesign, and research. Members of its committees and working groups are working diligently to craft and implement a provincial pain strategy for BC. Notable progress has been made in developing a relationship with the Ministry of Health, particularly in the areas of Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management. Pain BC members advocate for better pain care wherever and whenever they have the opportunity resulting in a network of contacts and associations focused on reducing the burden of pain.

There are many ongoing initiatives that the Pain BC Society, and its members, have developed. Persons living with chronic pain in the Lower Mainland of BC may have already accessed care more quickly as a result of the funding obtained to address wait times. If you are a UBC health professional student, you may have enrolled in an innovative, newly-launched interprofessional pain course developed in collaboration with members of Pain BC. If you attended the Chronic Pain Association of Canada Vancouver Forum, Pain BC members contributed to this event. If you are a General Practitioner in Kelowna, Penticton, or Nanaimo you may have enrolled in a Pain Champions course lead by members of Pain BC in collaboration with Pfizer. If you are a person living with pain in Vernon, you may have enrolled in the University of Victoria Center on Aging CoA (Ladner) Chronic Pain Self-Management Program that we envision disseminating throughout the province within a partnership between the CoA, Pain BC Society, and the BC Ministry of Health.

Through the week of November 1st -7th there are numerous education seminars both for the public and health care workers that are being conducted at various locations

While the week of Nov 1st -7th will see a host of education seminars both for the public and heatlth care professionals throughout the Province, this silent epidemic will not be going away until we change both the perception and practice of Pain Management in BC. Information about how to join and how to contact the Pain BC Society will be available on the newly-developed Society website by mid November.

Contact Info – Pain BC Society Room 3300, JPP3N 910 W 10th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

Dr Terje Salhus (Kelowna), Dr. Michael Negraeff (Vancouver), Ms Brenda Poulton, NP (New Westminster), and Dr Lynne Young (Victoria) - Board of Directors, Pain BC. Inquiries regarding the aforementioned can be directed to

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Press Release Submitted On: November 02, 2009 at 11:57 am
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