As many as one in five people experiences chronic pain, says this Vancouver Sun article and many other sources. They were injured at work, in vehicles, living with degenerative diseases, genetic conditions, and unknown causes.
“Pain is a legitimate illness that affects a wide swath of the population,” said Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, chair of the Senate committee reviewing the federal-provincial health accord. Along with patients’ groups and health professionals, he is advocating for prevention, early intervention, patient support, and better pain care in the community, says the article.
When people think you’re faking it
Since pain is invisible it’s often hard to prove to doctors, employers, insurers, or anyone else who needs to know why you aren’t working. One person told SunMedia what it’s often like to describe his suffering.
“The disbelief, the jeering, the snide commentary, and most especially, the fact that people think you are lying to get something out of it. No one but another person who has chronic pain can possibly understand how bad it is.”
Injured workers’ pain
Many injured workers know the feeling of pain that shuts down their lives – but it usually goes away. A few months ago, I wrote a post about a worker who tried to do an early return-to-work program, but suffered too much pain to continue. She told her case manager the pain was so bad she was crying at work, and she was transferred to a physio/pain management program instead.
A reader emailed me privately about the post and praised the compassion of our BC system for recognizing the worker’s pain and accommodating it. She lamented her province did not recognize pain as a legitimate cause for stopping an RTW program if there were no obvious sources for the pain.
Hopefully Ogilvie will stir a wave of change that makes things easier for people who are already suffering enough. Canada’s top pain scientists are meeting with Ogilvie’s committee – and I’ll be interested to see what is recommended in the review of the federal-provincial health accord.
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