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Pain as a call to action: from patient to health care provider

by yanagis,

As a someone in my late twenties, i've had widespread undiagnosed, non-traumatic chronic pain (only on the right side of my body) for 12 years. I would consider myself lucky, but like many of you, I saw many different physician specialists, 8 physiotherapists, a massage therapist, 2 chiropractors, 2 osteopaths, yoga teachers, counsellors, and pedorthists. In this health care journey, I share the frustration that many of you likely have of health care providers who think they can "cure" or believe the pain to be not as bad as we make it out to be. One of the challenges in my journey was to maintain hope that my pain could improve despite the many failures I had to endure. I experienced the grief of having to stop running and losing old friends due to the pain while being forced by the pain to lie down on the floor for relief as I was completing highschool and university. It was the hardest test I had to face in life so far.

Time was a healer for me. A decade to be exact. The most helpful people during this time were my yoga instructors and counsellors to help me deal with the grief. With time, I was able to process my grief and take my pain as an opportunity and change my life path. I focused on incorporating regular yoga, healthy movements, pacing, meditation, a healthy diet, and cognitive behavioral therapy into my lifestyle. It took years to have my pain managed now, although it is still there. I still can't run and there are still bad days physically and emotionally. I still have days where I wish it would just go away.

Like many who suffer from pain, it is a call to action. This action is personal. For me, my call to action was to become comfortable with myself, and work on my psychological health that i had been neglecting before my pain started. This continues today. Professionally, my call to action was to continue training as a health care provider with a focus on pain medicine. Transferring the suffering of pain to multiple purposes was and is therapeutic at the same time as giving back to others. Although there were many health care practitioners who had helpful suggestions and treatments, what helped me the most was to face the loss that my chronic pain brought, allow time to grieve and heal, and to find the opportunity my chronic pain presented to improve myself, and the condition of others around me.

Thank you for your interest in this consultation with the Canadian Pain Task Force towards an improved approach to better understand, prevent, and manage pain in Canada. 

The online consultation is now closed, and written submissions are no longer being accepted. 

Feedback provided from the consultation will inform a report identifying best and leading practices, potential areas for improvement, and elements of an improved approach to pain management in fall 2020. 

For more information on the Task Force, please visit the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/corporate/about-health-canada/public-engagement/external-advisory-bodies/canadian-pain-task-force.html  

Keep in touch with us via email at CPTF cptfsecretariatsecretariatgtcsld@canada.ca 

Sincerely, 

Canadian Pain Task Force