November 2020 Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
This November has been a high-profile month for the chronic pain community due to National Pain Awareness Week, the release of the Canadian Pain Task Force’s second report, and an announcement from Health Canada on new funding for pain initiatives.

National Pain Awareness Week
National Pain Awareness Week (NPAW) took place from November 1-7, 2020 and, as in previous years, served to spark dialogue, raise awareness and reduce the stigma of chronic pain. Pain BC partnered with Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) on this year’s social media campaign to amplify the efforts of our shared cause. I’m pleased to share that more than 126 organizations joined the conversation this year to share messages about the significance and impacts of pain in Canada, and to call for action on how pain is managed and treated. We also saw an incredible wealth of participation from individuals, including people living with pain, caregivers, health care providers, researchers, and federal health officials like Canada’s Health Minister, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, and Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.

Partnering with SKIP on this year’s campaign reinforced the value in collaborating with like-minded organizations to call for collective action on pain. I look forward to engaging with other pain organizations across Canada on NPAW in 2021 to amplify our shared messages even further.

Canadian Pain Task Force second report
During National Pain Awareness Week, the Canadian Pain Task Force released its second report to Health Canada following a series of extensive in-person and online consultations from July 2019 through August 2020. The report – Working together to better understand, prevent and manage pain: What we heard – addresses current gaps and challenges in pain care, education, research and data monitoring and identifies best practices to better understand, prevent, and manage chronic pain. Among the key findings, the report outlines how factors like trauma and inequity impact the experience and severity of pain, and how the concurrent crises we are grappling with – the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis – are further exacerbating access to care and treatment for people living with persistent pain.

The next phase in the Task Force’s three-year mandate will focus on building relationships across the country to share the best practices identified in the second report, and on mobilizing this knowledge into action to improve chronic pain in Canada; this phase will culminate in the Task Force’s third report to Health Canada in December 2021. I encourage you to read more on the Task Force’s second report and next steps in our latest blog post.

New funding for pain initiatives
In addition to announcing the release of the Task Force’s second report during NPAW, Health Canada also announced nearly $3.5 million in new funding for three initiatives that aim to improve support and access to care for populations at higher risk of experiencing pain and marginalization, including women, older adults, Indigenous peoples, certain ethnic communities, people who use drugs, and veterans.

I look forward to updating you further as the Task Force undertakes the final year of its mandate, with the aim of improving the lives of all Canadians 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.
New episode of our Pain Waves podcast
The connections between pain, substance use and overdose

While the link between chronic pain and the BC overdose crisis may not be widely understood, unmanaged pain can be a significant driver of substance use. In fact, nearly half of those who have died of overdose in BC had sought help to manage pain in the year prior to their death.

In this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Alexis Crabtree from the BC Centre for Disease Control, and Kim Williams, a person with pain who is in recovery from substance use, to learn more about the connections between pain, substance use, and overdose deaths in BC.
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 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.

All 37 session recordings are available and free to access on demand via our YouTube channel.
Upcoming Pain BC webinars
The Canadian Pain Task Force: Working to better understand and address the needs of people living with chronic pain

December 2, 2020 from 12:00-1:00PM PST

This free webinar will discuss the Canadian Pain Task Force’s findings following extensive in-person and online public consultations held between July 2019 and August 2020 with Canadians who live with, or have an interest in, chronic pain. It will also cover the next phase of the Task Force’s mandate to increase awareness of chronic pain and build relationships and networks for change across the country.

This webinar will be presented by Pain BC's Executive Director, Maria Hudspith, who co-chairs the Task Force, Andrew Taylor, Acting Director of the Canadian Pain Task Force Secretariat, and Linda Wilhelm, a Task Force member and President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance.
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops and courses for health care providers
NEW online 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.

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 four-hour blocks and will be held over four days in February 2021. Registrants must attend all four sessions and the pre-requisite webinar in order to receive credit.

Workshop details:
  • Pre-requisite webinar date: February 10, 2021 from 6:00-8:00PM PST
  • Workshop dates: February 20, 21, 27 and 28, 2021 from 9:00AM-1:00PM 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:

  • February 26-28, 2021 from 10:00AM-12:00PM PST
  • May 28-30, 2021 from 10:00AM-12:00PM PST
  • September 17-19, 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
Free webinar: Complementary therapies for arthritis
November 26, 2020 at 3:00PM PST

The Arthritis Society is holding a free webinar on November 26, 2020 to discuss complementary therapies and emerging treatments for managing arthritis. The webinar will specifically cover:

  • Supplements (e.g. turmeric, echinacea, ginger)
  • Exercises (e.g. tai chi, qigong)
  • Diets (eg. gluten-free, low-FODMAP, Neolithic)
  • Emerging treatments (e.g. cell therapies, medical cannabis)
  • Complementary therapies (e.g. massage therapy, meditation and acupuncture)
Free resources: Virtual care solutions to support youth with pain and their families during COVID-19 and beyond

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Partnering for Pain recently undertook a new project to determine the best ways to deliver virtual care for youth who live with pain and their families, and to share that information with families, policy makers, health professionals and the public. The results of their findings have been published on their website and are free to access.
Free webinar: Anxiety and depression in children with rheumatic disease
December 14, 2020 at 5:30PM PST

Cassie and Friends is holding a free webinar on December 14, 2020 during which child and family psychologist Dr. Penny Sneddon will discuss current research on mental health challenges in kids and teens with rheumatic conditions, the factors that contribute to emotional challenges, and how to best support children's emotional health. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Free conference: International Chronic Pain Virtual Summit
February 4-5, 2021

A second annual International Chronic Pain Virtual Summit is being held on February 4-5, 2021 and will include presentations on cultural aspects of pain, trauma-informed care, chronic pain and work, health care services and policy, as well presentations from people living with pain. Registration is free for anyone who wishes to attend.
Upcoming webinar: Shut up and listen! A patient takeover
November 27, 2020 at 12:00PM PST

Le Pub Scientifique is hosting an upcoming webinar on November 27, 2020, during which two pain advocates - Keith Meldrum and Joletta Belton - will share their lived experiences with pain and how those experiences have shaped their knowledge, thoughts, opinions, and recommendations on the future of care for people with persistent pain. Tickets range from £20.00 to £35.00 GBP.

Keith is a former Vice Chair of Pain BC's Board of Directors and has more recently been involved with the IASP Global Alliance of Pain Patient Advocates (GAPPA) as a founding and Presidential Task Force member. Joletta Belton has similarly contributed to Pain BC's work, including as a guest on our Pain Waves podcast and as a webinar presenter for health care providers.
Research and engagement opportunities
Research opportunity for youth ages 12 to 25 with pain

Researchers from the SickKids Pain Centre are seeking input from youth 12 to 25 years of age, who currently have chronic pain or have experienced chronic pain in the past, to participate in a study on pain and mental health. The input obtained will help to inform the development of a "Kids Pain Portal" within the Government of Canada's Wellness Together virtual mental health and substance use support platform. Those who participate will be compensated for their time. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria and would like to participate is encouraged to contact Vina Mohabir at
Survey to understand school experiences of children during COVID-19

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) - Joint Health is interested in learning about the school experiences of children impacted by arthritis during the COVID-19 pandemic through a brief online survey. They are specifically interested in hearing from:

  • Students with autoimmune arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Students who live with someone who has autoimmune arthritis
  • Parents/caregivers of a student with autoimmune arthritis
  • Parents/caregivers with autoimmune arthritis who live with a student

The survey should take approximately five minutes to complete.
Feedback opportunity: PharmaCare coverage of medication for Crohn's disease
Available until December 11, 2020

The Ministry of Health is considering coverage of vedolizumab (Entyvio®) for Crohn's disease under PharmaCare and is seeking input from both patients and caregivers as part of their review. Anyone interested in providing feedback can do so online until December 11, 2020.
Research opportunity for people with spinal cord injuries

Researchers from the ICORD spinal cord injury research centre are looking for people living with spinal cord injuries in Canada and the US to help test the effectiveness of a smartphone app for managing their health. Those who participate will be compensated for their time.
Study: Investigating falls among people with chronic pain

If you are an adult living with chronic pain and have experienced a fall in the past year, a research team at Queen's University would like to learn more about your experience through this short survey.
In the news
Canadian Pain Task Force delivers second report to Health Canada
The Canadian Pain Task Force recently delivered its second report to Health Canada following a series of extensive in-person and online consultations to identify best practices to better understand, prevent, and manage chronic pain.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2020
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer recently released a report on the impacts of COVID-19 on health equity in Canada, with mention of the impact of the pandemic on people living with pain.
We need more characters with chronic illnesses and disabilities in fiction
The author of this article talks about how, as part of feeling seen, heard and understood in the real world, people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities need more representation in fiction.
Government of Canada takes action to support people living with chronic pain
Health Canada recently announced nearly $3.5 million in new funding for three initiatives that aim to provide improved support and access to care for populations at higher risk of experiencing pain and marginalization.
15 misconceptions about chronic illness
The author of this article highlights some common misconceptions about living with a chronic illness and provides a discussion around each misconception for better understanding.
You don't have to do it all this holiday season
This article talks about the upcoming holiday season in the context of COVID-19 and how 2020 is the perfect year to pare down for people who live with chronic illness and find the holidays stressful.
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