November 18, 2016
Chronic Pain

In response to the current Canada-wide opioid crisis, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association has prepared a report to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, proposing community based interdisciplinary pain management strategies to help improve the lives of Canadians living with pain; reduce the use of opioids through provision of effective treatment options with lower risk profiles; and reduce the burden of pain on the health care system.

Recommendations to the Standing Committee include: 

1. Improve access for people in pain to community-based and inter-professional resources for the management of chronic pain.
2. Develop a community-based, interdisciplinary triage team model of care for those living with pain (those with the most urgent pain conditions, such as complex regional pain syndrome, can be moved quickly to the medical and specialist care they require).
3. Access to inter-professional pain management must be available for all Canadians including Indigenous, low-income, and rural communities.
4. Support the development of Canadian Pain Guidelines as a standard for interdisciplinary pain management curricula for all health care providers, ensuring there is ongoing support for pain education both pre- and post- licensure.

By looking at the problem as one of Public Health, the federal government is ideally positioned to implement national standards and guidelines, which as part of a National Action Plan on Pain Management and inter-professional development of Canadian Pain Guidelines could inform the behaviours of all health professionals. Canada has the opportunity to become a leader in pain management. By changing the way we think about pain and the people who are suffering from it, the conversation can be changed from one of opioids and addiction to one of solutions to chronic pain.

Click here for the full report.