July 2020 Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on people who use substances in BC, with more people dying of overdose this past May and June than any other month since the onset of the crisis in 2016. In the month of June alone, 175 British Columbians died of overdose. The worsening overdose crisis is particularly relevant to our community because we know about half of those who have died of overdose in this province sought treatment for pain in the year prior to their deaths.

We also know that people who experience marginalization – from substance use, poverty, trauma, mental illness, or systemic racism – often have a difficult time accessing supports to manage pain. That’s why in October of 2019, Pain BC launched Making Sense of Pain (MSOP) with the goal of providing accessible, non-stigmatizing and trauma-informed pain education and support to people in pain who face barriers to care. Each group is led over a span of eight weeks in communities throughout BC by trained facilitators. We also offer a  culturally relevant and safe version of the program for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples , which is co-facilitated by an Indigenous Elder.

In 2019, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) asked Pain BC to collaborate to integrate MSOP with its Street Degree program , which provides formal training to peers who work at overdose prevention and harm reduction sites. The program equips peers with essential knowledge in overdose response, cultural safety, community resources and managing difficult situations.

While the project is still in its planning stages, we aim to leverage successful components from both the Street Degree and MSOP programs, along with other best practices, to provide access to safe, accessible and relevant care to people with pain who use drugs. The program will be comprised of a multidisciplinary pain service that teaches self-management techniques and provides access to clinical services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other supports. In its initial implementation phase, the program will be offered in Squamish and Powell River, with funding from the Overdose Emergency Response Centre.

There is still so much work to do to address the overdose crisis in BC and we remain committed to doing our part. I look forward to sharing updates with you as this much-needed project unfolds.
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.
Pain BC's 2019 Annual Report

To learn more about Pain BC’s work, impact, operations and our generous donors and supporters in 2019, please read our latest annual report, which is now available online.
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 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 live-streaming 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.

37 session recordings are available and free to access on demand via our YouTube channel.
New episode of our Pain Waves podcast
The connections between pain and sleep

People who live with chronic pain commonly report experiencing issues with sleep and, conversely, poor sleep can make it more difficult to manage pain.

In this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by two experts, Dr. Josh Rash and Dr. Gilles Lavigne, to learn about how pain and sleep impact each other, sleep disorders that are common among people in pain, and what common treatment and management options exist for people with chronic pain who experience disturbances in sleep.
Join the Pain BC team: Two education positions available
Apply by August 7, 2020

Pain BC's Education team is currently hiring for two positions: an  Instructional Designer and an Education Program Manager .

The Instructional Designer is responsible for the design of Pain BC’s educational programs for health care providers, patients, and our volunteer community. The Instructional Designer must have experience in designing innovative online and blended programs for adult learners, demonstrated through an online portfolio. We are looking for someone who has expert command of educational technologies and design software, can successfully working with subject matter experts and other project stakeholders, an excellent understanding of learning design process and methods, and a track record of effective and engaging instructional delivery. Find out more .

The Education Program Manager is responsible for the delivery of Pain BC’s educational programs for health care providers, patients, and our volunteer community. The individual in this role will be responsible for coordinating the design of educational materials by internal staff and others (e.g. animators, developers, etc.). They will also plan, oversee, and support the development of curricula, and the delivery of online and blended courses, webinars, and other educational resources. Find out more .

If you, or anyone you know, have relevant experience and an interest in health and medical education, click on the postings above for more information. The postings will close on August 7, 2020 at 5:00PM. Please share these postings with anyone in your network who may be interested. Thank you!
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops, webinars and courses for health care providers
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, our 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 dates:

  • September 25-27, 2020: Register now (Register before September 7 for the early-bird rate)
  • November 20-22, 2020: Register now (Register before October 30 for the early-bird rate)
BC ECHO for Chronic Pain: Cycle 3 registration now open
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. Cycle 3 begins on September 15, 2020 and will run 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.

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
Opportunity to participate: Investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in BC health care
Survey available until July 30, 2020

The BC government has appointed Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead an independent investigation into Indigenous-specific discrimination in the BC health system. If you're an Indigenous person, they invite you share your experiences via this survey by July 30.
Canada Revenue Agency presentation: Benefits and tax credits for people with disabilities
July 28, 2020 at 1:30PM PST

The Canada Revenue Agency is holding a free presentation on July 28, 2020 to discuss the benefits and tax credits that are available to Canadians who either live with a disability themselves or are a caregiver to a dependent with a disability. These include, but are not limited to: the disability tax credit, the Canada caregiver credit, the child disability benefit and medical expenses.
Low-cost internet service for people in need during COVID-19

During COVID-19, Telus is offering low-cost internet service to people with low incomes (under $31K/yr), and to those who receive the BC Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit or the Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) benefit.
Feedback opportunity: PharmaCare coverage for medication for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
Available until August 12, 2020

The  Ministry of Health  is considering coverage of multiple medications for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis under PharmaCare and is seeking input from both patients and caregivers. Anyone interested in providing their feedback can do so online until August 12, 2020.
Sickboy Podcast: Laughter is the best medicine

At the  BC Patient Safety & Quality Council 's 2020 Quality Forum, the founders of the  Sickboy Podcast  use the power of storytelling, laughter and vulnerability to amplify the patient voice and de-stigmatize what it means to be sick.
New resource: A guide to cannabis for older adults

With cannabis use increasing among older Canadian adults, the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health (CCSMH) has developed a guide on what cannabis is, how it is used, and the potential benefits versus health risk associated with its use. The guide intends to help older adults make informed decisions about cannabis.
Resources for people living with arthritis

The Arthritis Society has put together new resources designed to provide helpful information on exercising and activity for people living with arthritis. These resources are equally helpful for people who live with non-arthritis chronic pain.

Research opportunities
Research study on long-term effects of medical cannabis to manage pain

The  University Health Network  is leading a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to learn more about the long-term effects of medical cannabis on managing chronic pain, sleep, anxiety and depression. Participants will be able to use a variety of genetically tested medical cannabis products and will be required to track their symptoms using questionnaires. The trial is open to all Canadians 19 years of age or older. Additional background information on the trial is available here .
Research opportunity: Virtual care options for youth with pain and families

A new project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) aims to identify what virtual care options exist to support youth with pain and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Researchers are specifically looking for youth 15 to 25 years of age who live with pain and parents of a child aged 8 to 18 who lives with pain. The total expected time commitment is two hours and participants will be compensated for their time. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the main researcher, Kathryn Birnie, at [email protected] .
Survey on renaming "pain catastrophizing"

Researchers from Stanford University have launched a survey to ask for feedback from people with chronic pain, health care providers and researchers on the term "pain catastrophizing" and whether new terminology should be considered. If you have an interest in pain, we encourage you to share your thoughts.
Survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities

Researchers from the Abilities Centre are interested in learning about the unique experiences, concerns and needs of people who are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic while living with a disability. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and the findings will provide important information to help communities ensure COVID-19 response strategies meet the needs of people living with disabilities.
Research study to understand how people think about pain

Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney are interested in learning how people think about and understand pain. They invite anyone with an interest to take this survey, which should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
In the news
The revised IASP definition of pain: concepts, challenges, and compromises
In this journal article, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) introduces a revised definition of pain for the first time since 1979.
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police call on Ottawa to decriminalize possession of illicit drugs for personal use
The Canadian Association of Chief Polices recently released a report in response to the ongoing overdose epidemic, calling on federal policymakers to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs for recreational use.
Guidance on authorship with and acknowledgement of patient partners in patient-oriented research
People with lived experience (PWLE) of pain involved in the Chronic Pain Network
recently published a paper on how to acknowledge the contributions of PWLE in research and, specifically, in the authorship of academic papers.
Psychotic disorder and cannabis use: Canadian hospitalization trends from 2006-2015
A new study from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) finds that the rate of hospitalizations related to cannabis use and mental and behavioural disorders more than doubled between 2006 and 2015.
Indigenous people don't feel safe accessing health care. Here's what has to change.
Experts in Indigenous health and inequity share how, in order to effectively eliminate systemic racism from the BC health care system, systems-level change is required in addition to educating health care providers at the individual level.
Learning a new way to travel with chronic illness
The author of this article shares some helpful tips for travelling while living with a chronic illness and/or disability.
Let's talk about painsomnia, baby
The author of this article discusses the impacts of pain on their ability to sleep, something many people with chronic illness can relate to.
People recovering from COVID-19 could be at risk for developing chronic fatigue syndrome
People with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, share how the onset of their chronic illness began some time after recovering from a viral infection.
The elephant in the room thing
In this article, Dr. Bronnie Lennox Thompson raises an incredibly important discussion in response to the question: "How do we have a conversation about when pain persists and doesn’t respond to any treatments?"
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