Patient Self-Management Strategies the Focus of ACTION Ontario Symposium during National Pain Awareness Week

ACTION Ontario's fourth annual symposium teaches patients how to live well with chronic pain

TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - ACTION Ontario today held their fourth annual symposium on chronic pain, marking National Pain Awareness Week by empowering patients to take control of chronic pain through patient self-management.

"It may seem like an oxymoron," said Janice Frampton, chair of Action PNP, Action's Ontario's patient group. "How do you live well with chronic pain? Well, today we'll share our coping mechanisms with you and give you some of the tools for taking charge of your pain."

Patient self-management is a partnership between patients and healthcare providers, helping patients with chronic pain deal with the symptoms, treatment, physical and social consequences, and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition.

The goal is to maintain a wellness focus in the foreground, even in the midst of a chronic condition, to improve quality of life, said the symposium's keynote speaker Sandra LeFort, professor of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and creator of the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program. "Chronic pain is not something that's completely understood yet. There's no easy answer to pain. Chronic pain is like living with chronic stress, but there are a lot of things you can do to manage your pain every day."

Patients can temporarily gain power over the condition by being aware of pain in the present moment rather than allowing the negative experiences overcome them. Complementary therapies, such as mindfulness meditation, tai chi, acupuncture and laughter, were just a handful of topics covered during this year's symposium.

"When you are dealing with chronic pain, you feel like crawling under a rock," said Ann Tuzi, an ACTION PNP member who started experiencing chronic pain nine years ago after having shingles and who found relief through laughter therapy. "Laughter helps give me relief and some control by taking my mind off of the pain."

Chronic pain affects an estimated 25 per cent of adults over the age of 18 - which is just more than eight million Canadians - and costs an estimated $50 billion per year in Canada. While a silent epidemic, chronic pain can be quite debilitating and may include neuropathic pain, arthritis, back pain, cancer pain and fibromyalgia. Rates of depression are also more than double in patients with chronic pain.

Currently, Ontario lacks a comprehensive pain strategy, resulting in several inadequacies in the effective management of chronic pain, such as diminishing number of academic pain clinics, lengthy wait times for care, access issues for treatment options, and the need for increased evidence-based knowledge on treating pain for healthcare professionals.

About ACTION Ontario:
ACTION Ontario is a not-for-profit organization comprised of doctors, researchers, other healthcare professionals and patients, advocates on behalf of neuropathic pain sufferers. Action Ontario is committed to increasing awareness about the cost of neuropathic pain and to seeing improvements in the diagnosis and care of people with neuropathic pain. For more information, please visit www.actionontario.ca

SOURCE ACTION Ontario

For further information:

or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Laura Greer
Hill & Knowlton
416-413-4765 / laura.greer@hillandknowlton.ca

Michelle MacLeod
Hill & Knowlton
416-413-4744 / michelle.macleod@hillandknowlton.ca

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ACTION Ontario

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