BC Pain Research Network members Curtis May and Brenda Lau Publish on the Complexity of Chronic Pain Patients

April 26, 2018

Curtis May who is a medical student and member of the BC Pain Research Network recently published an article with Dr. Vanessa Brcic (UBC Department of Family Practice) and Dr. Brenda Lau (UBC Residency Program Director – Pain Medicine and CHANGEpain) in the Canadian Journal of Pain. The article titled Characteristics and complexity of chronic pain patients referred to a community-based multidisciplinary chronic pain clinic discusses several critical factors including:

  • The vital unmet need among chronic pain patients in Canada to access multidisciplinary treatment (anything beyond medical and drug treatment) due to prohibitive waitlists and scarcity of publicly funded/affordable programs
  • For people with chronic pain in British Columbia, public funding (Medical Services Plan) is only available for physician services; other multidisciplinary treatment options including physiotherapy, massage, osteopathy, psychological counseling, etc. require private payment or extended care coverage.
  • Almost half (425 people) of the people in pain seeking services at a community-based secondary pain clinic earned less than $20,000 after tax (below the poverty line) with almost a third (124 people) unable to work at all due to disability.
  • 374 people met criteria for moderate to severe depression, highlighting the great need to provide targeted and timely therapies for both depression and pain.
  • At the first consultation, 73.4% of patients were managing pain with medications and 33.5% were using opioids.

A major conclusion from this work is that financial stress is prevalent in people living with chronic pain; thus, appropriate non-medical interventions for chronic pain should be accessible and affordable/subsidized to allow equitable and effective healthcare.

To learn more and read the original article click here


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