Canadians Deserve a National Pain Strategy

Stakeholders converge in the nation's capital to discuss the critical issues of pain

TORONTO, April 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Today international medical, ethics and human rights experts will join the Canadian Pain Society (CPS), the Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC), members of the pain community, various stakeholder groups and federal officials in Ottawa for the first-ever Canadian Pain Summit.

Pain is one of the most common reasons for a patient to consult a healthcare professional and yet numerous studies have concluded that both acute and chronic pain is not well managed.1 Even in large urban centres across Canada there are long waits for the few available chronic pain clinics, while most people living in rural Canada are forced to go without adequate treatment or face wait times up to five years.2

"Unfortunately, most health care professionals have not received adequate training on appropriate pain management and are therefore at a loss when trying to help their patients. Veterinary students receive five times as much undergraduate teaching on pain than do medical students. The implementation of a National Pain Strategy would target this knowledge gap by insisting on minimum training requirements for all Canadian health professionals. This, along with better access to appropriate, coordinated pain management services could reduce the costs in other parts of our healthcare system," says Dr. Mary Lynch, Co-Chair of the Canadian Pain Summit.

The National Pain Strategy is a call to action developed by clinicians, researchers, stakeholder groups and people living with pain to address the social, economic and personal impact of pain on Canadians. To date, over 4,000 Canadians and more than 100 organizations have shown their support for a National Pain Strategy. The Strategy identifies four key target areas for change, including: awareness and education, access, research and ongoing monitoring.  The Strategy has been reviewed and contributed by various stakeholders such as Health Canada, The Canadian Medical Association, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the Arthritis Alliance and The Canadian Association of Retired Persons to address the gaps that exist in pain management and to minimize its burden on Canadians living with pain, their families and society.

"People forget just how wide spread and costly the problem of chronic pain is. The 6 million Canadians who suffer from this condition include victims of motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries, illness, arthritis, cancer patients, and veterans," explains Lynn Cooper, a chronic pain sufferer and President of the Canadian Pain Coalition. "In 2010, the international pain community approved the Declaration of Montreal which states that 'Access to pain management is a fundamental human right,' and this is a right not being met."

Pain costs the economy an estimated $56-60 billion dollars in lost wages and direct health care costs,3 and in addition each pain sufferer waiting for treatment pays an estimated $17,544,4 annually in costs not funded publically or by insurance.

The total spent in Canada on pain research is inadequate, compared to huge impact of pain on Canadians. Between 2006 - 2007 and 2010 - 2011, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded approximately $54.7 million of pain-related research5 - or less than one per cent of total research funding from the CIHR. Across the country, only 0.25 per cent of total funding for health research in Canada, was spent on pain-related research.6

Pain Summit attendees will have the opportunity to hear the personal stories of patients living in pain and learn from national and international experts why having a National Pain Strategy is so important and fundamental for our policy makers to adopt.  Canadians can show their support for the National Pain Strategy and rise up against pain by endorsing the call for a National Pain Strategy at www.canadianpainsummit2012.ca. Together we can make a difference.

Pain Facts

  • One in five Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain7
  • 15‐30 per cent of children experience recurring or chronic pain and the prevalence increases with age8
  • Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease9
  • Based on Canadian and U.S. survey data, the cost of chronic pain in adults, including health care expenses and lost productivity, is an estimated $56-60 Billion dollars annually 7,10
  • People living with pain have double the risk of suicide as compared with people without chronic pain11
  • Although we have the knowledge and technology, Canadians are left in pain after surgery, even in our top hospitals. Only 30% of ordered medication are given, 50% of patients are left in moderate to severe pain after surgery and the situation is not improving12

About the Canadian Pain Society
The Canadian Pain Society has been a chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain since 1982. The aim of the CPS is to foster and encourage research on pain mechanisms and pain syndromes and to help improve the management of patients with acute and chronic pain by bringing together the basic scientists and health professionals of various disciplines and backgrounds who have an interest in pain research and management. www.canadianpainsociety.ca / www.twitter.com/canadianpain

About the Canadian Pain Coalition
The Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC) is THE National Voice of People with Pain. Incorporated in 2004 as a non-profit organization, the CPC is a partnership of pain consumer groups, individuals, health professionals who care for people in pain and scientists studying better ways to treat pain. CPC promotes sustained improvement in the understanding, prevention, treatment and management of all types of pain in Canada. CPC accomplishes this through pain education, awareness activities and advocacy initiatives. CPC obtained the Senate Declaration of National Pain Awareness Week in 2004. www.canadianpaincoalition.ca

References

  1. Pain in the emergency department: results of the Pain and Emergency Medicine Initiative (PEMI) Multicentre Study. J Pain. Todd, K. H., J. Ducharme, et al. 8: 460‐466. 2007
  2. Research funding for Pain in Canada. ME Lynch MD FRCP, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Donald Schopflocher PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Paul Taenzer PhD, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta ,Caitlin Sinclair BSc, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  3. Institute of Medicine (2011). Relieving Pain In America: A blueprint for transforming prevention, care, education and research. Washington DC, Institute of Medicine, National Academies Press.
  4. Guerriere D., et al. (2010) The Canadian STOP-PAIN Project - Part 2: What is the cost of pain for patients on waitlists of multidisciplinary pain treatment facilities? Can J Anesth 57:549-558
  5. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/193.html
  6. Research funding for Pain in Canada. ME Lynch MD FRCP, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Donald Schopflocher PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Paul Taenzer PhD, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta ,Caitlin Sinclair BSc, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  7. Schopflocher D, Taenzer P, Jovey R. The prevalence of chronic pain in Canada. Pain Res Manag. 2011 Nov-Dec;16(6):445-50.
  8. Stanford, E. A., C. T. Chambers, et al. (2008). "The frequency, trajectories and predictors of adolescent recurrent pain: A population based approach." Pain 138: 11-21. 
  9. Choiniere, M., D. Dion, et al. (2010). "The Canadian STOP-PAIN Project-Part 1: Who are the patients on the waitlist of multidisciplinary pain treatment facilities?," Can J Anesth 57: 539-548.
  10. Institute of Medicine (2011). Relieving Pain In America: A blueprint for transforming prevention, care, education and research. Washington DC, Institute of Medicine, National Academies Press.
  11. Tang, N. and C. Crane (2006). "Suicidality in chronic pain: review of the prevalence, risk factors and psychological links."  Psychol Med 36: 575-586.
  12. Watt-Watson, J., B. Stevens, et al. (2004). "Impact of preoperative education on pain outcomes after coronary artery bypass graft surgery." Pain 109:73-85.
For further information:

For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Rob McEwan
Argyle Communications 
(416) 454-4515
rmcewan@argylecommunications.com 

Caroline De Silva
Argyle Communications
(416) 898-4361
cdesilva@argylecommunications.com