December 2019 Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
As a supporter of Pain BC, I know you’re aware of the challenges experienced by people living with pain. This giving season, I’m asking for your financial support to ensure that no one struggles with pain alone.

When pain is complicated by poverty, mental health issues, substance use or trauma, it can limit a person’s ability to access health care. To begin addressing this need, Pain BC recently launched a new program called Making Sense of Pain , an 8-week program designed to provide equal opportunities for education and support to people who might otherwise face exclusion or stigma when accessing pain care. We also offer a culturally relevant version of this program for Indigenous communities, which are disproportionately impacted by pain and trauma. Making Sense of Pain is currently available at 10 sites around the province , including the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, but so many more people could benefit from this type of support.

Similarly, our free-to-access Pain Support and Wellness Groups bring together people with pain to build a community of support, learn about pain management, and participate in safe and gentle movement on an ongoing basis. This year, we’ve launched 11 face-to-face groups, led by trained peer facilitators, around the province. We intend to expand the program to additional communities in 2020, but we need your help to get there.

Your tax-deductible gift to Pain BC will allow us to expand both of these programs so no one, regardless of their circumstances, is denied the pain support they desperately need and deserve. I urge you to consider making a one-time or monthly donation to support the growth of these programs .

We know that many people living with pain are on limited incomes which makes charitable giving difficult. If this is your situation, we understand and encourage you to access our free support programs .

I’d like to thank you for your help in bringing care, education and hope to the 1 in 5 British Columbians living with pain. Together, we have brought awareness to the issue of pain, and with your continued support, are translating that awareness into action.
Pain BC programs, resources and updates
Pain BC programs and initiatives are funded, in whole or in part, by the Government of British Columbia.
Our supports for people with pain
Access our free pain self-management resources, including evidence-based articles, assessment tools, and an anonymous discussion forum.
Connect with a trained volunteer to talk about your pain, get help with finding a new physician, find information on community resources, and much more.
Join an in-person group and build a community of support while learning about pain, pain management and coping strategies.
Receive one-on-one phone support and mentorship from a coach who will help you learn about self-management, regaining function and improving your well-being.
Pain BC program spotlight
Providing pain education for health care providers in the Downtown Eastside

Pain BC partnered with the Vancouver Community Chronic Pain Service this fall on a series of lunch & learn lectures for health care providers serving Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The learning series presented essential topics in pain management, raised awareness of Vancouver Community's pain service and built a community of practice among primary care clinics serving Vancouver and the Downtown Eastside. Over the course of the series, the Pain Services Team presented 16 lectures at six different clinics to an audience of more than 275 health care providers and front line staff.

Mo Gaffney, the nurse educator who helped facilitate the lunch & learn lectures at the Downtown Community Health Centre, was so inspired by the talk physiotherapist Will Bateman shared on "How to talk to your patients about pain" that she created a "Pain Conversation Tree" in the staff lunch room. Clinical staff were encouraged to have conversations about patients about pain, and when they did, to record an aspect of it in the form of a leaf on the tree. The tree presents a creative way of making learning and practice change visible among health care providers and we look forward to seeing how it evolves further as providers continue to engage in conversations on pain care in coming months!
Holiday resources for people living with pain

Living with chronic pain can be difficult at even the best of times, but it can be especially challenging during the holiday season. Below are some resources that can help.
Pain Support Line
Pain BC’s Pain Support Line can help by providing a safe space to talk about pain and its impacts; get information on pain, self-management and community resources; find help with filling out health-related forms; and much more. 
During the holiday season, the Pain Support Line will be open from Monday through Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm, excluding December 23-29 and January 1. Regular hours will resume on January 2.  Call toll-free at 1-844-880-PAIN or  find out more .
Online resources

Pain Support and Wellness Groups: 2020 dates now available

Pain BC's Pain Support and Wellness Groups offer an opportunity for people living with persistent pain to meet regularly and build a community of support while learning about pain, pain management and coping strategies. Each 2-hour session allows participants to share their experiences, discuss self-management skills and take part in gentle movement exercises as a group.

2020 dates are now available and posted on our website. Groups meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month with alternating mid-day and evening sessions.There is no cost to attend and drop-ins are welcome. You can also register in advance if you would like an email reminder.
Join the Pain BC team

Pain BC's Support Services team is currently hiring for the position of Support Services Lead . If you or someone you know has experience in social work, counselling, psychology, nursing, or a related discipline and is passionate about social mission organizations, check out the posting below for more information.

The posting will close at 5:00pm on December 31, 2019. Please share the position with anyone who may be interested. Thank you!
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops, webinars and courses
Pain BC workshop: Chronic Pain Management for Occupational Therapists
This workshop is for occupational therapists interested in learning about the neurophysiology of pain and how it relates to OT intervention.

Jan 31-Feb 1, 2020 in Vancouver:  Register now
Pain BC workshop: Chronic Pain Management for Registered Massage Therapists
This workshop provides RMTs with an opportunity to learn how modifications of traditional massage therapy practices can increase success and improve outcomes for people in pain.

March 8, 2020 in Nanaimo: Register now
May 31, 2020 in Surrey: Register now
September 27, 2020 in Kelowna: Register now
October 18, 2020 in Vancouver: Register now
Pain BC workshop: Chronic Pain Management for Chiropractors
This workshop is for chiropractors or students of chiropractic interested in developing or enhancing their clinical skills in the assessment and treatment of people living with complex and chronic pain.

Sep 26-27, 2020 in Kelowna : Register now
BC ECHO for Chronic Pain
This new and free virtual learning community brings together specialists and community health care providers from around the province to learn together from complex pain cases.

Upcoming sessions:

Session 5: The pain-focused history and sensory exam
  • Date and time: January 21, 2020 from 6-8pm PST
  • Presenters: Dr. Rodica Janz and Roly Fletcher

Session 6: Headaches
  • Date and time: February 18, 2020 from 6-8pm PST
  • Presenters: TBC

Each 2-hour session includes a real, anonymous patient case discussion, which can be submitted by any attending health care provider. To submit a case, please email .

Upcoming webinars

Polyvagal theory and pain care: January 23, 2020 from 12-1pm PST
In this webinar, Marlysa Sullivan, PT, C-IAYT, ERYT-500 will discuss different methods by which the ANS can be positively regulated to help manage pain, including the Polyvagal theory, yoga and the cultivation of eudaimonic well-being. Register now

The therapeutic alliance: February 6, 2020 from 12-1pm PST
In this webinar, physiotherapist Steve Young will review the evidence supporting the use of therapeutic alliance and simple things that health care providers can do on a daily basis to improve interactions with patients. Register now
Gentle Movement and Relaxation course
This free, online course will equip physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals with practical knowledge and teaching resources to lead their own movement and relaxation programs for people living with chronic pain.

The Gentle Movement and Relaxation course is currently available to BC health care providers only.

Pain Foundations
This online course is designed to address the challenges faced by health care providers of all disciplines when assessing and treating people living with chronic pain. The course is free for health care providers in BC; a pricing structure for other geographical locations is coming soon.

Other programs, opportunities and resources
2019 Canadian Pain Task Force update

This past spring, Health Canada established the  Canadian Pain Task Force (CPTF) to identify and address the barriers that prevent people with persistent pain from receiving the care and treatment they need. The Task Force  released its first report  in June, which assesses the current state of chronic pain care, education and research in Canada and highlights the profound impact of chronic pain on Canadians.

Since that time, the Task Force has been committed to meeting with people with pain, clinical experts, researchers, and policy makers to gather feedback and drive much-needed action on pain. In the following blog post, we’ve summarized some of the federal action that has been taken since that time and the CPTF work that is taking place to drive further change.
Survey on CIHR strategic priorities for health services and policy research

The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR) is developing its strategic plan for 2020-2025. The plan will identify strategic directions and research priorities that support the health services and policy research community in addressing the most serious challenges that exist within the Canadian health care system.

As part of developing their strategic plan, they are seeking input from the public via a short survey to identify areas of health services and research that are of most interest to Canadians. Whether you live with pain or are a caregiver, health care provider, researcher, or other stakeholder with an interest in pain, we encourage you to fill out the survey to call for additional investments in pain research and knowledge translation initiatives to improve pain care across Canada.
Government of BC survey on regulating health professions
Accepting feedback until January 10, 2020

The Government of BC's Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation is currently seeking feedback from the public on how BC health professions should be regulated. The feedback will be incorporated into a revised British Columbia Health Professions Act, which governs the regulatory colleges that oversee all health professionals in the province. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to fill out their short survey by January 10, 2020. Those wishing to provide more detailed feedback can do so through a written submission.
Free Gentle Movement and Relaxation seminars
Taking place on the second Wednesday of each month in Surrey

Solaj Laser & Wellness Clinic is hosting free, monthly seminars on gentle movement and relaxation for people living with chronic pain. The seminars are facilitated by two health care providers who have completed Pain BC's Gentle Movement and Relaxation Course . Seminars will be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 3:15pm beginning January 8, 2020. The seminars are free to attend and anyone interested can reserve their spot by emailing or calling 604 385 3358.
Health care survey for people living in Tri-Cities and New Westminster
Accepting feedback until January 2, 2020

The Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice is seeking feedback from people living in the Tri-Cities and New Westminster on various areas of health care, including chronic pain, as an effort to improve services in the community. The survey will remain open until January 2, 2020, and anyone who participates will be entered to win a $25 gift card.
Survey: Neuroethical issues related to the use of brain imaging to detect and treat chronic pain

Researchers from the University Health Network in Toronto are conducting a survey to learn about what people with chronic pain think about the potential use of new brain imaging technology (e.g. functional MRI) to detect and treat chronic pain. Participants must be 18 years of age or older, have been living with chronic pain for more than six months, and have access to the internet. The survey should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about participating in the study, please contact Dr. Karen Davis at or Dr. Daniel Buchman at .
Research study: Understanding falls among adults living with chronic pain

Researchers from Queen's University are investigating the circumstances and impacts of falls among people living with chronic pain. If you have chronic pain and have experienced a fall in the last 12 months, they would like to learn more about your experience through a short survey.
New research study on chronic low-back pain

The QR Clinic in North Vancouver is looking for people with chronic low-back pain to participate in their research study, which aims to determine the effectiveness of their techniques in providing long-term pain relief. Anyone interested can find out more or apply to join the study through their website.
In the news
Researchers identify four types of opioid stigma contributing to the current crisis
In this journal article, researchers from the University of Toronto identify discuss four different types of opioid-related stigma that are significantly contributing to Canada's overdose crisis.
Frequency of cannabis and illicit opioid use among people who use drugs and report chronic pain: A longitudinal analysis
This report by the BC Centre on Substance Use finds that people who use cannabis to manage pain are significantly less likely to use illicit opioids. 
Shared decision making: Why the slow progress?
In this essay, a physician discusses how, despite there being decades of research and policy support on the benefits of shared decision making between providers and patients, its translation into practice has been incredibly slow.
Canada's broken disability support system is needlessly costing millions, harming mental health
This article addresses the urgent need for an improved disability support system for the millions of Canadians living with permanent, episodic, visible and/or invisible disabilities.
37 holiday self-care tips for anyone who is kind of not OK right now
This light-hearted BuzzFeed article shares a range of self-care tips for anyone experiencing a difficult time this holiday season.
10 strategies that can make life as a caregiver easier
This article provides insight on how caregivers can prioritize their own health and wellbeing while caring for someone with a chronic illness.
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