March 2021 Pain BC Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
Pain BC welcomes the recent launch of the new National Pain Advocacy Center (NPAC), a US organization made up of scientists, health care providers, pain advocates and people living with pain.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down (yes, over Zoom!) with NPAC’s Founder, Kate Nicholson. Kate is a health policy and civil rights attorney and expert in the Americans with Disabilities Act who worked in the US Justice Department’s civil rights division for nearly two decades. A surgical mishap left her with intractable pain, which she managed with a variety of tools, including opioids. She put her advocacy skills to work, mobilizing others and creating NPAC, an organization formed in response to the unintended yet devastating impacts of opioid tapering and discontinuation on people living with pain in the US. Kate and I connected around our passion for health justice and our respective organizations’ commitments to transform how pain is understood and treated. You can hear more about Kate’s experience in her TED talk.

NPAC’s mission is to “advance the health and human rights of people in pain.” It is working to remove systemic barriers that prevent people living with pain from accessing the medication and health care they need to live well.

NPAC’s values are grounded in equity and inclusion, including people living with pain at all levels of its organization, and maintaining dignity and solidarity for people living with pain and addiction. Anyone interested can learn more about NPAC’s recent actions and accomplishments.

We’re very excited to see the launch of this organization in the US and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate on improving the lives of people living with pain.
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.
We're hiring: Director, Support Services

Are you an innovative non-profit leader who wants to make a difference in the lives of people with chronic pain? Are you excited by the idea of working collaboratively with people with lived experience, staff, volunteers, and other partners to scale existing programs and develop new ones? Are you committed to addressing issues of health equity and social justice in a progressive organization? This role might be the one for you.
We're seeking an entrepreneurial leader with a background in social work, counselling, or psychology who can support the further growth and impact of our Support Services programs for people living with chronic pain.

If this sounds like the right fit for you, we encourage you to find out more about the position and apply.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes: Current landscape and hopes for future directions
New Pain Waves podcast episode

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are thirteen subtypes of rare connective tissue disorders characterized by numerous debilitating symptoms, including chronic pain. Sadly, current gaps in dedicated health care and research for EDS leave many Canadians living with these chronic illnesses undiagnosed or undertreated.

On this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by three guests to learn more about these chronic illnesses. Dr. Nimish Mittal tells us about what Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are, the current gaps in health care and research, and what changes need to be made in the Canadian health care system to better support people living with EDS. We’re also joined by Kathleen Eubanks from EDS Canada, who shares her firsthand experience of living with the illness, and Sandy Smeenk from the ILC Foundation, who shares her professional and personal experiences as a mother to a child with EDS.
Patient partner co-publishes new international Guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published new Guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children with the goal of “assisting WHO Member States and their partners in developing and implementing national and local policies, regulations, pain management protocols and best practices.”

The new Guidelines replace an older set of Guidelines from 2012, which primarily focused on cancer and palliative pain among children but lacked guidance on best practices for chronic non-cancer, non-palliative pain. For the first time, WHO appointed a patient partner – Justina Marianayagam – to their Guideline Development Group (GDG) responsible for this new Guideline’s development.

Justina is a third-year medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine who is completing her rural clerkship year in Kapuskasing, Ontario. She’s originally from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and has been living with pain since childhood.

“I pretty much had to learn how to manage living with constant pain and joint swellings as a teenager who was really just worried about graduating high school,” Justina says. “That’s when I got introduced to the SickKids Chronic Pain Team who helped me go from being bedridden to being able to walk again and manage my daily pain.”
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.
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, 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 (SOLD OUT)
  • 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
Canadian Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting: 2021 Lived Experience Scholarships available
Apply by April 2, 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.

People living with pain, caregivers and family members can also apply for a CPS Lived Experience Scholarship, which will cover the full cost of registration. The deadline to apply is April 2, 2021.
Let's talk about my migraine: Virtual learning session available by donation
May 14, 2021

The Pain Society of Alberta and Migraine Canada are co-hosting a virtual learning session on May 14, 2021 to discuss migraine and share new pain management strategies, treatments and tools. Registration is available by donation, with a free ticket option available for those who are unable to donate.
Pain Society of Alberta 15th Annual Conference
October 15-17, 2021

The Pain Society of Alberta is hosting its annual conference virtually on October 15-17, 2021. Registration costs range from $49.00 to $99.00 for health care providers, while people living with pain and medical students are invited to attend for free.
Research and engagement opportunities
Citizen Science: New research portal to share your experiences with pain and inform future research

Citizen Scientist is a new online platform that allows Canadians to share their experiences with pain so researchers can better understand its impacts and shape future pain research in a meaningful way. Learn more about the initiative and how you can participate at the link below or through this short video.
Research study for children between 6 months and 18 years with pain
Researchers are seeking children between 6 months and 18 years with neurological problems, who cannot communicate verbally about their pain and have unexplained pain, to participate in a patient-oriented research study. Anyone interested is encouraged to learn more at the link below.
Study for people with cancer and chronic pain

The UBC School of Nursing and SFU School of Interactive Arts + Technology are looking for people with cancer, who also experience chronic pain, to test the use of immersive multimedia experiences for managing pain. Those who participate will be compensated for their time. Please contact Crystal Sun, Project Manager at for more information or if you are interested in participating in the study.
In the news
COVID-19 vaccines and arthritis
The Arthritis Society has created this resource page for people living with arthritis who want to learn more about the benefits and possible risks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Learning to listen to patients' stories
This New York Times article highlights the value in narrative medicine and listening to patients' stories as part of providing compassionate, person-centred health care.
Why doesn't sleep advice talk about sex?
As chronic pain and sleep disorders have many intersections, this article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal explores the current gaps in research and highlights how sex - whether with a partner or alone - can help promote better sleep.
Tax credits and deductions for persons with disabilities
The Richmond Centre for Disability has put together this helpful Q&A video session on tax credits and deductions that may be available for people living with disabilities.
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