Tell us where it hurts - National Pain Awareness Week Nov. 1-7, 2009

A global year against musculoskeletal pain

TORONTO, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - Today, all across Canada, someone's brother, mother or child is waking up with pain. It is estimated that one in five Canadians live with chronic pain that interferes with every aspect of their life. National Pain Awareness Week is a public awareness effort to address a public health crisis. A collaborative physician and patient effort, is an awareness and advocacy campaign with a goal of addressing the vital need to achieve better understanding, prevention and management of all types of pain in Canada. is using the first week of November to educate and inform Canadians that information, support groups and resources are available to combat pain.

While there are many different types of pain, this year's National Pain Awareness Week (NPAW) is highlighting one of the leading causes of pain to Canadians - musculoskeletal disorders. Acute musculoskeletal pain is pain perceived within a region of the body, or the body as a whole, and believed to arise from the muscles, ligaments, bones or joints.

"Musculoskeletal pain is more than just a pain in the neck for 3.5 million Canadians," said Dr. Brian Kirsh, Steering Committee Member and Medical Director of the Hamilton Health Sciences Chronic Pain Management Unit. "Almost every adult has experienced one or more brief episodes of musculoskeletal pain associated with injury or excess physical activity."

With the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorder and chronic pain so high, it has a significant impact on our healthcare system and in the Canadian workplace. Estimates place direct healthcare costs for Canada to be more than $6 billion per year (in year 2000 dollars) for individuals suffering from chronic pain. By 2025, with the aging population, these costs can be expected to rise to more than $10 billion per year (Phillips & Schopflocher, 2008).(1) According to a recent survey, 70.5 per cent of moderate to severe chronic pain sufferers are currently being treated by a physician for their pain - and this number will only increase.

"Musculoskeletal disorder causes as much pain in our pocketbook as it does in the bodies of people who suffer from it," said Lynn Cooper, a person who lives with pain, President of the Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC) and Steering Committee Member. "Whether it's musculoskeletal pain, persistent chronic pain or acute pain from an injury, Canadians are suffering and are largely unaware of the treatment options available."

To champion pain awareness and highlight the gaps between what is known and what is practised in the treatment of all kinds of pain in Canada, the CPC, a partnership of patient pain groups and health professionals, will be distributing NPAW posters to health facilities and clinics across Canada. The CPC is also partnering with the Canadian Pain Society (CPS), offering pain information booths at various malls across Canada. For more information about where information booths will be held or to download a free poster about NPAW, please go to

About is an awareness and advocacy campaign founded by the Canadian Pain Society, the Canadian Pain Coalition, and the Canadian Pain Foundation. The initiative seeks to promote awareness of the issue of under treated pain in Canada through a long-term, coordinated public awareness campaign with the goal of addressing the vital need to achieve better understanding, prevention and management of all types of pain in Canada.

    (1) The economics of Chronic Pain CJ Phillips D Schopflocher (2008). In S
    Rashiq D Schopflocher, P Taenzer E Jonsson (Eds) Chronic Pain: A Health
    Policy Perspective. Weinham, Germany: Wiley-Blackwell.


For further information: For further information: To schedule an interview or for additional information, please contact: Rob McEwan, Argyle Communications, Tel: (416) 968-7311, ext. 242,

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