Chronic Pain Resources for Albertans

Chronic pain can feel like a slow torture. It’s an invisible disability, and though it’s not immediately apparent to others, the emotional toll is heavy. Everyday activities can become incredibly difficult, such as going to work, exercising, dressing, or taking a shower.

Pain that continually persists can affect all areas of a person’s life, and unmanaged pain may lead to sleeplessness, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. If you currently live with chronic pain, it can be a lonely journey. You may feel like no one understands what you are going through.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians live with chronic pain.

Though the intensity of the pain varies from person to person, it’s typically between moderate to severe levels. Research has also found that females, older adults, veterans, and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected by this disability.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain syndrome is a long term pain disorder described as anything that lasts for 3 months or longer. Pain is a signal from our body, telling us that something is wrong. Though it may be normal to experience pain when you are injured or ill. Pain that lasts for weeks, months, or years is not.

An injury that has long since healed – such as from a car accident, serious infection, or surgical incision may be the cause of chronic pain; however, other cases have no apparent reason.

How to Diagnose Chronic Pain?

To determine if you do have chronic pain syndrome, doctors will ask questions, investigating what may be the cause and type of pain you are experiencing (dull, sharp, constant, or on and off). Additional diagnostic testing may be ordered such as:

  • Laboratory tests to analyze blood, urine, and/or fluid from the spinal cord and brain.
  • Musculoskeletal or neurological exams to assess reflexes, sensation, balance, and coordination.
  • Imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain scans of the brain, spinal cord, and other structures.
  • X-rays to obtain images of the bones and joints.
  • Electromyography to test muscle activity.
  • Nerve conduction studies to record nerve activity.

Chronic pain syndrome can be challenging to diagnose because tests, such as MRIs or CT scans, do not reveal a cause for the pain. There is also no way to objectively measure pain, as pain tolerance varies.

Helpful Resources

If you are currently living with chronic pain, there are a few resources available that can help support you during this difficult time.

  1. Live Plan Be: An online website and free self-management tool for people living with chronic pain. This includes providing pain education, real-life stories from chronic pain survivors, and more.
  2. The Pain Community: An online community and forum that encourages those who are living with chronic pain to support one another.
  3. Pain BC: An organization that aims to enhance the well-being of all people living with pain. They offer a pain chat line, support wellness groups (via Zoom), and other online resources. Although they are based in BC, many of the resources are available to Albertans as well.
  4. Pain Waves Podcast: A podcast created by Pain BC where chronic pain experts and people living with pain share their latest pain management tools, stories, research, and trends.
  5. Curable: This is a paid, online app that was developed by three people who formerly suffered from chronic pain. Curable is an evidence-based program that provides you with exercises and lessons each week to help you manage, improve, and potentially cure your pain.

Chronic pain can be excruciating! If proven to be the result of a car accident or personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence, injured victims may have a legal right to compensation.

If you are suffering from chronic pain due to the negligence of someone else, reach out to our team by calling (780) 900-7941 or visiting McGuinessLaw to book your free consultation.