with contributions from Christine Peets
Everyone who has experienced pain knows that it takes sudden and immediate precedence in your life. Pain is almost impossible to ignore. Whether it’s a headache, a tooth ache, an earache or a stubbed toe, pain has a way of making you pay attention to what’s happening to, and in, your body. Most pain is a way of warning your body that there’s a problem – a too hot surface (stove, sun-baked pathways or hot water), a too sharp an object (sewing needle, knife, broken glass) or a too intrusive object (bee sting, stinging nettle, burr). Pain sends a message to our brains that we need to do something, and do something quickly.
But some pain isn’t constructive and helpful. It doesn’t tell us to not turn the tap up so hot. It doesn’t tell us to wear shoes on hot pavement. It doesn’t tell us to not walk through the woods by poison ivy wearing just shorts. Some pain is chronic, and chronic pain does not always have an easily identified organic cause. For some people suffering from chronic pain, it can be hard to get help. Chronic pain is not always well understood by family physicians, nor are they necessarily specially trained to treat people suffering from chronic pain.
Chronic pain is perhaps the hardest, most misunderstood type of pain to live with. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life, from the ability to carry out day-to-day activities, personal relationships, to employment.
Here are a few resources for those suffering from chronic pain. We hope that these might help make life better for those suffering from chronic pain, and for their families and friends who help to support them.
Some of the more recent resources are online:
Chronic Pain Self-Management program information:
Pain Care Clinics (with locations in the GTA)
http://www.paincareclinics.com/faq/ has patient information on their web site. As well, you can download a referral form to give to your physician if you want a referral to a pain specialist.
The Centres for Pain Management (CPM) with locations in Ontario, provide a number of articles and other resources on its FAQ page:
Other resources are available from the following institutions:
Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability (CIRPD)
Pain Centre, The Arthritis Society
The Pain Management Health Centre on WebMD lists this resources:
For those who want to be distracted from their pain and enjoy computer games, there is information about computer games designed to distract your mind from pain that could be used for acute or chronic pain, at “Virtual Refuge from Pain.”
Information in print includes these books:
Essmonde-White, Miranda, Aging Backwards (Random House, 2014)
Richeimer, Dr. Steven, Confronting Chronic Pain: A Doctor’s Guide to Relief, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014)
Gardner, Dr. Jackie, The Mindfulness Solution to Pain: Step-by-Step Techniques for Chronic Pain Management (New Harbinger Publications Inc. 2009)
Caudhill, Margaret, Managing Pain Before It Manages You Third Edition (Guilford Press 2008)
Hall, Hamilton, The Back Doctor (Penguin, 1982), (Doubleday, 1995)
Hall, Hamilton, A Consultation with The Back Doctor, (McLelland & Stewart, 2004)
There are many more print resources for clinicians and patients. These were among the most popular and more recent.
There are also on-line groups for those suffering with chronic pain, or for family and friends who are interested in how to support others, or get support for being a care-giver to someone with chronic pain. Check Linked-In groups, but be prepared to spend time perusing what’s available as there many groups to choose from.
You might also check out these articles on our web site that also deal with pain:
Christine Peets is a freelance writer based in southeastern Ontario. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996 and is always looking for resources to deal with her chronic pain, which is made better by a combination of medication, exercise and a healthy dose of humour.
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