Too Many People Hurt

So, who answered the questionnaire? One third of all respondents were 55- 64 yrs of age, 49% 65-74 years old and 7.6% more than 75 years of age, 64% were men and 36% women, 60% were living in Ontario and 26% in BC/territories and Alberta. Wow! One in two of all of you that you read my pain columns, have chronic pain or you know a family member that does. While some of the respondents in this questionnaire could have been patients in my pain clinic or another pain clinics, the vast majority of the respondents are seen by their family doctors and not by pain specialists. These are the same people who tell us they are unhappy with their doctors’ knowledge, the treatments they receive or the treatments they cannot afford and the dramatic changes in their lifestyle. It does not need then a rocket scientist to realize that only a well thought, multifaceted approach to chronic pain, a “comprehensive pain strategy” will address this huge problem of chronic pain in Canada.

As I said in one of my previous columns “Chronic pain is the elephant in the room that no one wants to see”. But the elephant grew so big, that even the walls of the room are unable to contain him now. Thank you for responding to the questionnaire. Your collective voice needs to be heard by administrators, policy makers, educators and health care providers so that we can attempt to address the huge problem of poorly diagnosed and treated chronic pain (Quebec, Alberta and maybe Nova Scotia have comprehensive strategies, but Ontario does not).

Angela Mailis Gagnon, MD, MSc, FRCPC(PhysMed)
Director, Comprehensive Pain Program,
Senior Investigator, Krembil Neuroscience Centre
Toronto Western Hospital,
Chair ACTION Ontario

Keywords: pain, drugs, patient