February 2021 Pain BC Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
Over the past year, there have been incredible advances in the way children’s pain is studied, understood and managed across Canada and internationally, thanks to the tireless efforts of many dedicated patient partners, researchers, health care providers and organizations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published revised Guidelines to support WHO Member States in developing and implementing evidence-informed policies and best practices to ensure equitable access to appropriate and safe therapies for pain management among children. The new Guidelines also aim to empower caregivers and families in advocating for improved services and identifying key gaps in research.

Justina Marianayagam, a medical student and advocate who has been living with chronic pain since childhood, was among the key stakeholders involved in consultations and this Guideline’s development. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Justina to learn more about the WHO Guidelines and her motivations for participating in this work, which you can read about here.

Similarly, in October 2020 the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Commission published a new kit, Delivering transformative action in pediatric pain, to centralize the best available tools, expertise, and evidence to provide better treatment for childhood pain globally. Patient partners including members of the Pain BC community, Isabel and Zach Jordan, were at the forefront of its development. You can read more about Zach and Isabel’s role in that work here.

Closer to home, BC Children’s Hospital has been pursuing ChildKind International certification, which recognizes health care facilities that have developed standardized, institution-wide, collaborative approaches to the prevention and treatment of pediatric pain based on five key principles. Pain BC has been proud to support BC Children’s Hospital in this significant process.

Pain BC is grateful to be a partner in Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a national knowledge mobilization network committed to ensuring the best solutions for preventing and managing children’s pain is put into practice. SKIP recently shared all it accomplished in its first operational year through this Year 1 Video and 2019-2020 Report to the Community.

I’m encouraged to see local, national and international momentum building around children’s pain management. I look forward to this important work continuing in 2021, beginning with the third annual Partnering for Pediatric Pain virtual symposium on March 5, 2021. For this event, we’ve collaborated with BC Children’s Hospital on a one-day conference that will provide opportunities to engage online with pain specialists from across Canada. The event will explore strategies for better supporting children, youth and families experiencing acute and chronic pain. Registration for this event is free for people in pain and their family caregivers. I encourage anyone with an interest in pediatric pain to register to join us for the event here.
Pain BC programs, resources and updates
The following programs and initiatives are funded, in whole or in part, by the Province of British Columbia: Coaching for Health, chronic pain management workshops for health care providers, Gentle Movement and Relaxation course, Live Plan Be, Making Sense of Pain, Pain BC's monthly webinars for health care providers, Pain Foundations, Pain Support and Wellness Groups, Pain Support Line and the Pain Waves podcast.
Chronic pain among Canadian veterans: Personal insights and new initiatives
New Pain Waves podcast episode

Canadian Armed Forces members devote their lives to serving their country, often at great costs to their personal health and well-being. Research from Veteran Affairs Canada indicates veterans are twice as likely to experience chronic pain when compared to the general population.

In this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by Tom Hoppe, a patient advocate and veteran who lives with chronic pain. He shares his personal experiences and talks about the impacts of military culture on pain, the challenges veterans often experience with accessing health care following military service, and his hopes for how organizations like the recently established Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans (CPCOE) will improve the lives of the 41% of veterans who live with pain.
Why we give: Drs. Najam Mian and Kshitij Chawla

Drs. Najam Mian and Kshitij Chawla are physiatrists and pain medicine specialists who, in addition to co-founding the Canadian Pain & Regenerative Institute, dedicate their time to supporting Pain BC’s mission. Najam is the Clinical Hub Team Lead for Pain BC’s BC ECHO for Chronic Pain and Kshitij is a member of the Pain BC Board.

Both are also monthly donors to Pain BC because the say they value the organization’s support services for people in pain, educational programs for health care providers, and its advocacy efforts to raise the profile of pain in BC and across Canada.

“As doctors, we provide medical care, but we know there are many other needs for support once patients leave our offices,” Kshitij says. “The majority of the time, they’re living with chronic pain alone or with limited support and understanding of their condition, and a lot of these gaps are filled by Pain BC’s support services programs.”
Update: Coaching for Health program now accessible through Pain Support Line referral

Pain BC's free Coaching for Health program is designed to help people living with pain learn self-management skills, regain function and improve their well-being. People in pain can talk regularly with a trained coach who will support them as they work towards their individualized goals for managing pain and well-being. The program is typically accessed through a referral from a licensed health provider but people in pain who need help to access a referral can now contact our Pain Support Line staff to be referred to Coaching for Health. Pain Support Line staff can be reached at 1-844-880-PAIN (7246) or supportline@painbc.ca.
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 staff member to talk about your pain, get help with finding a new physician, find information on community resources, and much more.
Join an online 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.
Gentle Movement @ Home: Guided movement and relaxation for pain during COVID-19 (and beyond)

Gentle Movement @ Home online sessions provide guided movement and relaxation designed to help people with persistent pain learn to feel safe to move again. Topics include breath awareness and regulation, body tension regulation, and movement and relaxation techniques in both seated and standing positions.

The full collection of Gentle Movement @ Home videos are available to view for free via our YouTube channel.
Pain BC collaborates on three newly published research studies

Towards health equity for people experiencing chronic pain and social marginalization

Pain BC was proud to partner on research examining health equity for people experiencing chronic pain and social marginalization, which has recently been published in the International Journal for Equity in Health. In collaboration with researchers from the UVic School of Social Work, UBC School of Nursing and UBC Department of Psychology, the study examines the experiences of pain, discrimination and stigma across diverse marginalized communities and recommends equity-oriented approaches to health care.
Qualitative investigation of chronic pain patients’ health care experiences during the opioid overdose epidemic in Canada

Pain BC partnered on this collaborative study with researchers from Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal to examine the impact of the opioid overdose epidemic on people living with chronic non-cancer pain, highlights the importance of providing non-stigmatizing care for patients who use opioid medications to manage pain and calls for improved health policies and education to support providers.
A cross-sectional study of pain status and psychological distress among individuals living with chronic pain

Pain BC partnered on this collaborative study with researchers from across Canada to examine the associations between geographical variations in infection rates, stress and pain severity, and investigate factors associated with changes in pain status and psychological distress among people living with chronic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual conference: Partnering for Pediatric Pain
March 5, 2021

Join Pain BC and BC Children's Hospital for an interactive, practical and evidence-informed pain management education experience through this virtual one-day conference. Engage online with pain specialists from across Canada to explore perceptions of pain while enhancing your understanding of the pain continuum in pediatric hospital care. Registration is open to anyone with an interest in attending, including people outside of BC.

  • $35.00 early-bird registration for health care providers and the general public. The ticket price includes access to all live presentations and recordings.
  • Free for people living with pain and their caregivers to attend the live presentations.
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops, webinars and courses for health care providers
NEW online workshop: Chronic Pain Management for Occupational Therapists
This workshop is for occupational therapists and OT students interested in developing or enhancing their clinical skills in the assessment and treatment of people living with complex and chronic pain.

Due to COVID-19, this workshop is now offered online via Zoom and is accessible to chiropractors from any region of the province. Please note that, in its new online format, the course will be broken up into three blocks and will be held over three days in March 2021. Registrants must attend all three sessions and complete the pre-requisite Pain Foundations modules in order to receive credit

Required course components:
  • Two pre-requisite modules from Pain BC's Pain Foundations online course
  • Workshop dates: March 12-13, 2021 from 9:00AM-2:00PM PST AND March 29, 2021 from 6:00-8:00PM PST

Online 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.

Due to COVID-19, these workshops are now offered online via Zoom and are accessible to RMTs from any region of the province. Please note that, in its new online format, the course will be broken up into two-hour blocks and will be held over three days.

Upcoming workshop dates:

  • May 28-30, 2021 from 10:00AM-12:00PM PST
  • September 17-19, 2021 from 10:00AM-12:00PM PST
  • October 15-17, 2021 from 10:00AM-12:00PM PST

BC ECHO for Chronic Pain
Health care providers of all disciplines are invited to join our virtual community of practice to gain improved competence in providing care for complex pain cases. Sessions for this cycle will be held each month until June 2021. Providers have the option to register for individual sessions or for the entire cycle. A full list of dates and topics can be found on our website.

Pain Foundations for Allied Health Providers
Pain Foundations for Allied Health Providers is an online course designed for allied health care providers to improve their understanding of chronic pain and how to address the challenges of pain assessment and treatment. This practical, compact course allows learners to develop clinically relevant approaches to chronic pain management and develop a strong grounding in pain science to support further exploration. The course is free for health care providers in BC and offered at a modest cost for providers outside of BC.

Pain Foundations for Primary Care Providers
This practical, compact course allows physicians and nurse practitioners to develop clinically relevant approaches to chronic pain management, including non-pharmacological treatments and prescribing best practices. Learners will develop a strong grounding in pain science to support further exploration. The course is free for primary care providers in BC and offered at a modest cost for physicians and nurse practitioners outside of BC.

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.

Other programs, opportunities and resources
Upcoming free virtual education sessions with Cassie and Friends

Cassie and Friends has launched a new series of evidence-based virtual education sessions to help families impacted by pediatric rheumatic diseases learn how to navigate life with a chronic condition. Attendees will hear from a pediatric rheumatology expert and a patient and/or parent speaker, and a live Q+A period will be available at the end of each session. Upcoming topics and dates include:

  • Methotrexate: March 27, 2021 at 4:30PM PST
Canadian Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting
April 28-30, 2021

The Canadian Pain Society (CPS) is holding its 41st Annual Scientific Meeting virtually on April 28-30, 2021 to bring together scientists, health care professionals, trainees and people with lived experience to learn about and exchange up-to-date information on pain mechanisms, pain assessment, and pain management. Registration costs vary for CPS members, non-members and trainees, while a lower-cost option of $40.00 is available for people living with pain.
Research and engagement opportunities
Engagement opportunity: Addressing systemic racism in Canada's health research funding system

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has launched an online portal to engage Canadians in discussions on addressing systemic racism in its current health research funding system. Anyone interested is encouraged to learn more and register at the link below.
IASP 2021 Global Year About Back Pain

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) has designated its 2021 Global Year theme to helping health care providers, researchers, people living with pain, and the public understand the nature of back pain and the available treatment options for managing it. IASP aims to do this by providing free fact sheets, webinars, publications and much more throughout the course of this year. Find out how you can get involved in the conversation at the link below.
In the news
Government of Canada supports four safer drug supply projects in British Columbia
The Government of BC has announced $15 million in funding for four community-based safer supply projects for people with opioid use disorder in British Columbia. These projects will provide pharmaceutical-grade medication as an alternative to the toxic illegal supply.
Patients with chronic pain need care — it is unprofessional to turn them away
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) reasserts how its safe prescribing guidelines do not prohibit physicians from prescribing long-term opioid medication to patients with chronic pain, but instead are intended to make prescribing safer.
AMS announces 2020 fellows in compassion and artificial intelligence
Two incredible pain research collaborators -
Drs. Daniel Buchman and Jennifer Stinson
- were recently awarded fellowships in integrating compassion and artificial intelligence.
Myths about the overdose crisis in BC
This recent article by the Government of BC uncovers common myths around the overdose crisis in British Columbia and provides supporting information for anyone who wishes to learn more on this topic.
Nine tips for requesting academic accommodations for chronic illness
The author of this article shares some helpful tips around requesting academic accommodations - including educational and housing support - as a student with chronic illness.
How the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence is helping Canadian veterans
This article highlights the experiences of Canadian veterans living with chronic pain and how the new Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian veterans is using a patient-centred approach to improve research and care.
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