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May 2022 Pain BC Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
This May marked one year since the public release of Health Canada’s Action Plan for Pain in Canada, a comprehensive report that sets out targeted actions to improve well-being for people living with pain, and to reduce pain’s impact on families and society. Since that time, we have been working with our partners across the country to champion the Action Plan and advocate for its implementation. We are beginning to see early signs of progress.

A key pillar of the Action Plan is equitable access to pain care and supports for all communities, including those disproportionately impacted by pain. Indigenous Services Canada has recently announced investments in Indigenous health human resources and primary care services in remote communities, supporting integrated approaches to chronic pain. Last summer, the federal government invited input for the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which is slated to include a new disability benefit, improved eligibility for disability programs and benefits, and an employment strategy for people with disabilities.

The Action Plan also calls for more research on pain and pain treatments and better support for translating new knowledge into real world impact. Aligning with this, new funding has been announced for research on migrant worker health and the intersection of poverty, pain, and substance use. In addition, 11 chronic pain-focused projects – with an initial investment of nearly $20 million – have been approved through the Substance Use and Addictions Program.

We have seen the development of national long-term care service standards, and pain advocates are involved in integrating recommendations on pain assessment and care into these. National standards to shape mental health and substance use services are also being developed. We are working with partners across the country to ensure that pain, and its connection to trauma and substance use, is embedded in these.

The Action Plan sets out recommendations to better monitor pain and its impacts. In response, Statistics Canada’s annual Canadian Community Health Survey, which gathers information on health determinants and usage of the health system, has integrated questions regarding pain for the first time. This data will inform both research and government decisions for years to come.

Notably, Health Canada has now created a Chronic Pain Policy Team tasked with advancing the Action Plan's recommendations and evaluating progress. This is a welcome indication of commitment.

Much more remains to be done, but this early progress provides hope and the start of tangible improvements for people with pain across the country. Please join us in this movement by visiting, where you can learn about opportunities to engage in this effort, connect with others with a shared purpose, and track progress on the Action Plan.
Pain BC programs, resources and updates
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2021 Pain BC Annual Report
Read the report now

We’re excited to share that our 2021 Annual Report is now available. The report highlights the impact of our ongoing work to improve the well-being of people with pain through empowerment, care, education and innovation. If you have questions about our work, please feel free to reach out to us at
Dr. Karen Wanger and Kataneh Sherkat
Saying thank you to two incredible board members
Dr. Karen Wanger and Kataneh Sherkat

This month, we thank Dr. Karen Wanger and Kataneh Sherkat for their years of service and commitment as Pain BC board members.

Karen served on the Pain BC Board of Directors for six years, making contributions as a member of the Governance and Nominations Committee as well as in her role as Vice-Chair. Her perspective as a family physician with a long and varied career in the health field has enabled new connections and insights for Pain BC. Notably, Karen represented Pain BC on the Medical Services Commission's Guidelines and Protocols Committee, an advisory body to the BC government that recently created comprehensive new pain management guidelines for all clinicians in BC. In all of these settings, Karen's professional background and contributions are informed by her experience as a person living with pain. We'll miss her insight and enthusiasm on the board, and look forward to finding other ways to collaborate in the future.

Kataneh served on the Pain BC Board of Directors for four years. She has been an active ambassador for Pain BC through its Governance and Nominations Committee, where she brought her extensive experience in talent management, human resources and leadership. Kataneh's lived experience with pain has informed her passion for our mission. She's been a tremendous champion for the growth of Pain BC into new territory, helping to fuel the development of Pain Canada, our new national action network. We know she will continue to champion our vision and to facilitate connections aligned with our shared goals.

We can’t thank them enough for their impactful contributions to our mission and for advocating for people living with pain. Thank you, Karen and Kataneh!
Apply to become a Pain Support and Wellness Group facilitator
We are looking for volunteers to co-lead/facilitate groups in BC

Pain Support and Wellness Groups offer an opportunity for people living with persistent pain to meet on a regular basis to learn about self-management as well as receive and provide support, by sharing knowledge, experiences and coping strategies. Groups meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month with alternating afternoon and evening sessions.

Pain BC is looking for volunteer facilitators to co-lead/facilitate virtual Pain Support and Wellness Groups across the province. As a volunteer, you will receive thorough training and educational materials from Pain BC, as well as ongoing support from Pain BC staff to facilitate the group in your community.
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 Pain Support Line staff to talk about your pain, find information on community resources, learn about pain and self-management, 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

Gentle Movement @ Home free online videos 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
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.

Pain BC relies on the generosity of our donors to deliver our programs and services. We gratefully acknowledge that many of our programs and services receive partial financial support from the Province of British Columbia, including Coaching for Health, the Pain Support Line, Pain Support and Wellness Groups, our chronic pain management workshops for health care providers, Gentle Movement and Relaxation course, LivePlanBe, Making Sense of Pain, Pain Foundations, and the Pain Waves podcast.
Other programs, opportunities and resources
Veteran and family well-being series on chronic pain
Free virtual event on June 1, 2022

The Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans' upcoming education session on June 1 will explore two alternative methods of care that contribute to chronic pain management. This session will begin with a discussion of the positive benefits of mindfulness to pain management. The second topic will explore evidence-based research surrounding the impact of yoga in pain management.
Neil Squire's Working Together program
Employment support for people with disabilities

Neil Squire's Working Together program provides free employment support to people with disabilities. The program supports you with career and personal development, job search support, and ergonomic and assistive technology solutions for work. The program also offers webinars on topics related to job-searching, ergonomics, digital accessibility, and wellness.
Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada logo
Indigenous History Month: Free information sessions
Free virtual events throughout June

To observe Indigenous History Month, the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada is organizing a series of weekly information sessions throughout June. The sessions are one hour long, covering topics including terminology, territorial acknowledgements, a book club, and more.
Research and engagement opportunities
ACE Joint Health logo
Survey: Arthritis and mental health

People with arthritis are more at risk for developing mental health conditions because of the interaction of anxiety, depression, and fatigue with chronic arthritis pain. Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) hopes to understand how people living with arthritis take care of their mental health and what specific challenges they face accessing timely professional care. The survey is open to people living with any form of arthritis and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will remain anonymous. Take the survey here.
Illustration of two people's silhouettes hugging.
Survey: Chronic pain and romantic relationships

Researchers at Edge Hill University and University of Bath in the UK, and the University of Ottawa in Canada, want to explore how young people with chronic pain and their partners navigate romantic relationships. You are eligible to take part if you are aged 18-25, have chronic pain, live in either the UK or Canada, and are involved in a romantic relationship. Learn more and take part here.
CircaPain logo
Study: Pain throughout the day

If you live with pain, does it change throughout the day? The CircaPain research team is studying how time of day impacts pain and wants to hear about your experience. This study is open to all adults who have had persistent pain for more than three months. Learn more and take the survey on CircaPain's website:
Study: Tracking the parasympathetic nervous system and subjective state of well-being in chronic pain

The UBC Vision Lab is studying how parasympathetic activity tracked with a wearable sensor is related to emotional and physical wellbeing in chronic pain. You will be asked to wear a wrist sensor and respond to some questions for two months. If you are at least 18 years of age, a fluent English speaker, have chronic back pain and no heart disease, please contact Veronica Dudarev at to sign up.
In the news
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Pop star Halsey shares their challenges leading up to being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome and POTS.
Canadian study offers important clue to why some back pain becomes chronic
The study suggests blocking inflammation after injury might make that pain chronic — a finding that challenges the standard approach to treating pain.
Short-staffed urgent care and primary care centres failing to fix BC's family doctor crisis
Data from BC's Ministry of Health show staffing at most of its 26 urgent and primary care centres is far below approved levels, leading critics to say they are not a solution to BC's shortage of family doctors.
When chronic illness turns you into a spectator in your own life
The author shares how living with chronic illness has made her feel like a backseat passenger in her own life and provides resources to process the feeling.
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