Is A Solution To Chronic Pain Treatment Underway in Canada?

Is A Solution To Chronic Pain Treatment Underway in Canada?

By Ed Coghlan.

How the Canadian province of British Columbia is approaching the treatment of chronic pain might be worth watching.

“There has really been a lack of any appropriate response to chronic pain in our province and in our country,” said Maria Hudspith, executive director of Pain BC, the only non-profit society in Canada to bring together clinical experts and policy-makers to work on chronic pain management initiatives.

In June 2016, B.C. doctors became the first in Canada to face mandatory standards for prescribing opioids and other addictive medications.

She said that after the standards were introduced; doctors began weaning patients off pain medication which left people suffering, especially if they don’t have access to other options for pain relief.

“We have documented cases of people who are no longer able to work, they’ve maxed out their sick time, they’re contemplating going on disability,” she said.

“We know that to effectively treat chronic pain means more than just giving them prescription medicine, she said.”

Her group – which is what is called a collective impact model – includes physicians, patients, business, pharmaceutical and policy maker is pressing the provincial government to make an investment in how chronic pain is treated.

They are working to secure an investment for the expansion of services that can create multi-modal treatment of chronic pain.

Hudspith’s group is pressing for an inter-disciplinary approach to treatment, give family doctors more time to treat a patient (currently the average office visit assuming you can get one is 7 minutes) and robust clinical education programs.

“People recognize the treatment of chronic pain is an important issue,” she told The National Pain Report. “We are pleased the government is working with us on developing an action plan that makes sense.”

Her group is what she calls a “Big Tent” involving clinical, research, business and legal experts. She also pointed out that her group doesn’t any take funding from pharmaceutical companies.

She told CTV, “Chronic pain is a very misunderstood condition. The approach needs to be very different from other chronic conditions that are very well understood.”

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Maria Hudspith belongs to an organization that advocates pain contracts. This is a discriminatory practice and needs to stop. This organization needs to advocate against discriminatory practices toward pain patients. What I have seen of them does not inspire confidence


Yes, Dennis M Lawson you are quite right it is attempted murder. I hope the UK Doctors read these posts and learn as they are going the same way. I asked my doctor straight what these allegedly life threatening and serious side effects of opiods are and he said : CONSTIPATION, SWEATING AND ITCHING!!!
That is the truth. He knows I shall never be an addict. I’ve had far worse effects from Topiramate (trashed body clock) and Oxcarbazepine (fluid retention increasing pain via the fluids pressing on tissue pain sensors in my body tissues).


Multi-modal treatment of chronic pain is nothing new in the U.S.

Bob Schubring

What Americans need to realize about Canada’s provincial single-payer health plans, is that politicians punish voters for voting incorrectly on some unrelated issue or other, by diminishing access to timely diagnostic procedures and surgery, while continuing to waste money on vote-buying schemes. Ontario, for example. imposes a six-week wait for MRI scans of back injuries, while holding one billion dollars in reserve to build a bridge to Detroit, that Michigan voters have not agreed to allow built. (Some Detroiters object to having their homes bulldozed to clear a path for the new bridge, and argue that an existing bridge works just fine.) The Ontario politicians ask doctors to medicate patients for pain, while the patients wait 6 weeks for a procedure that in many US hospitals is performed in the Emergency Room immediately after the patient arrives with the back injury.

Because of this policy of delaying procedures to save money, Canadian doctors are inclined to object to the delays by any means possible. One of the possible means, is to object to the risks of maintaining the patient on pain medicine for six weeks while waiting for a diagnostic test to be performed.

Meanwhile, patients who tire of waiting for doctors and politicians to come to agreement, sometimes take the extraordinary step of traveling to the US with some money, visiting a US clinic, and paying their own money to have a procedure done, that Canadian single-payer schemes won’t allow them to have in Canada.

Recognizing that’s happening, we can see a more-sinister explanation for BC’s politicians to embrace the worst features of US Opiophobia: If Canadians with back injuries are forced to suffer 6 weeks of intolerable pain, waiting for an MRI scan to diagnose a back injury, many more Canadians will spend cash to buy the work at a US clinic. This puts more cash in Canadian politicians’ budgets that they can squander on bridges to nowhere and similar vote-buying scams, so of course they will embrace opiophobia.

Americans who distrust politicians should be very concerned that US politicians will interfere with healthcare delivery if we allow them the power to do that. At minimum, there must be a legal right to give gifts of healthcare to people who need it…if a politician can tax away gifts of charitable aid to the needy, in the name of “single-payer”, that power will be abused.


When you have no one and nothing . Any choice that could be is taken away . There’s one thing your left with . Death. No one cares , all this stupid regulations any and all cruel behaviors practiced by doctors. Stick a fork in me . I’m done. Even family act revolting. This isn’t a free country or a do no harm situation . It is noting but senseless cruelty.

Please don’t be fooled by what this “Dr” is saying. I’ve never heard of her or her group but what I do hear every night is that in Vancouver(capitol of British Columbia) there are so many drug related deaths every night on the street there. Paramedics & Police carry shots of a drug that can save some from the throws of overdoses in the streets! That’s all we hear & it’s [edit]! U know why? Because they don’t tell you that people overdosing in the streets were people that had had every single medication for pain ripped out of their grasp! British Columbia was the 1st province in Canada to start cutting drugs back & of course they didnt handle it well! Same as in the States some patients were just dropped & went cold turkey from fairly high pain meds in some cases to NOTHING! The second they realized that any prescriptions for narcotics were going to not just checked but because the Pharmacies had certain amt of control & if they knew patient was on meds for what was called “Just” pain control. That word, “JUST!” it drives me crazy! I’m not saying buying street drugs is justified but if you take people in horrible pain that can only be controlled by meds. If those meds are ripped away & nothing is put there to help them cope, I’m wondering what Drs actually think they’re gonna do. Also ALOT of these people committed suicide. It wasn’t classed as a normal suicide it’s called an accidental overdose if they in anyway used medication to do it. The country is being told daily, weekly in normal news & in special news reports about the Fentanyl that is accidentally taking children from parents & so on. They have used one or two examples of very young people that had gone thru rehab & breaking down used once & of course got a pill that had been laced with fentanyl. They showed these poor kids in a coma, lying there brain dead with their mother crying! So now they are joining every death by drugs & classing them as drug addicts. The poor people that must have been so desperate to take their lives because they couldnt take the pain anymore. Now they are suddenly in same group as people knowingly using street drugs! Guess what! They NEVER mention the fact that 40-50% of people on the list of people dying using street drugs had NEVER used street drug called fentanyl. They had however been closely before their death one of these people that took too much drugs for chronic pain! It is NOT only not fair but in no way true. It leaves their families feeling sometimes very negatively about the loved ones they had lost. I live in Ontario. My province has been apart of this craziness too & my family thinks I’m either a drug addict or at best on too many drugs! They think the drugs r gonna… Read more »

Janice Snyder

I find this approach to be encouraging and hope the United States will take heed to how our northern neighbor is addressing chronic pain. We are patients not addicts.

Steven Smith

I find this one-size-fits-all and we don’t care what is wrong with you or how bad you hurt, here’s how many mme your going to have to get by on. That is the problem. How many people have to die or is that the idea? My doctor directly said I will have to just make friends with my severe pain. Whatever happened to do no harm? Our solution is only a solution for without pain!


Hudspith stated that treating ‘chronic” pain effectively means more than simply prescribing opioid medication to the millions of patients in Canada (and the US). So how does NO treatment with opioid medication for confirmed, doumented cases of lifetime pain patients with NO other available effective treatment help manage daily continuous pain? If an alternative effective pain management therapy, which does not exist right now for many patients and reduction or denial of opioid medication prescribing which does effectively help manage pain at the time, , then how does sanctioning or denial of opioid medication “help” with worsened pain, unsolvable monetary problems, and other deteriorating health issues? At LEASTpatients have been getting “some” type of good, effective pain mahagement with opioid medication in an effective dosage after deemed medically necessary by our physicians and not placing us into unsolvable pain managment situations WITH all the other negative issues such as creating emotional, psychological, and monetary problems. It seems that a real, effective assistance of an alternative to opioid medication or supplement with medication should have been developed (and I relaize that every case is somewhat unique) BEFORE worsened pain by reduction and or denial of a proven therapy here in the US. As ususal, a “poiicy” being enforced by dot/gov IS creating literal life threatening and certainly monetary issues with a bass ackwards “:policy” with no recourse whatsoever for many, many patients and dot/gov can not realize this problem or worse refuses to address the issue of ineffetive pain management? Live or die, porsper or cry is NOT reasonable treatment of patients by a democartic society. As a patient for 23 years after ALL surgical,and alternative care for pain managment has already been attempted, why in Heavens name take the only pain management therapy from me that has cost me life savings, my employment, and I have NO other way to simply survive. Even if “approved” for SS Disability here in the US, I still must live with un managed pain. My point is, the reduction and denial of opioid medication that has been manageing lifetime, contiouous pain for decades, even with documentation of continued employment, well managed pain, no negative health issues, no abuse or misues of my tailored dosage from a pain management specialist is no longer available, then exactly WHAT resource do I have to turn to? Dot/gov states and declares an “opioid crisis” is causing a rising number of overdoses by drug abuse but, according to a a published CDC statement, the overdose rate increased by about 10,000 people from 2015 hrough 2017 yet, the prescribing of opioid prescriptions were decreased some 6 million prescriptions in 2017 The overdose rate is NOT being effectively addressed and current “policy” IS causing far worsened pain management ability among the pain patient community however NOTHING is being done to either lower the overdose rate and the pain patient community is VERY negatively being affected theorugh enforced compliance of an asinine “policy” Pot documentation of assisting patients with disease, certain health… Read more »

To me it sounds like What our U S medical establishment has started – let’s use all the modalities we can that might help with pain.

For many I believe there’s hope if the right form of treatment is found.

In the U S there are 10 to 20 Million that have tried everything & only Opiates will ease their suffering.

So, No – I don’t believe that Canada is on to something new or better. They may be using different terminology but the methods remain the same as here in America.

Thank you,

John S

Its about time,at least there’s someone in the world who’s willing not only look at the whole picture,but also do something about it,it’s a shame here in america we have been brainwashed into believe anything the news say is the whole truth,far from it,i live in an town where my relative’s are being programed that i’m an drug addict from schools local news,world news because the only thing that help’s my severe chronic pain and worked for years is doctor ordered opioid medication,don’t drank,or take street drugs at all,they even gave my relative’s naloxone to slip into my food’s and drinks,which i think is a very evil thing to do to someone in severe chronic pain,could have cause me to have heart attack,plus it goes against doctors order’s and is against the law,don’t worry their about to go to jail,you can’t play GOD with peoples life’s,that’s called attemped murder,also they talked about me like a dog because i’m in severe pain and have to take opioid’s,telling hospital doctor’s i was taking by the handful’s what garbage,i’ve never had an doctor order them like that to take them that way and wouldn’t,found out it was the same people who where addicts that i ran into at hospital,they tryed to tell me i was an addict just because i take opioid medicine doctor ordered the way he said,they where mad because i wouldn’t admit i was an addict,i’m not i kept telling them,i’m an pain patient in great severe pain,that opioid medicine only help,they got mader,i left because i was starting to get mad myself,the only question they didn’t have an answer to was if i went to treatment how was my great severe chronic pain that i had for over 12yrs,that only opioid pain medicine going to be helped or stopped,no one has an honest answer for this,i’ve been asking this for over 2yrs to everybody i think might be able to help me,come on board america,stop being pain nazi,and let save the rest of the real chronic pain patients before they die too.

Im happy to see that Canada is going thru with this search and taking it seriously. I know that Canada and the US are looking at what each is doing to help with a replacement for opiates. I really want the pharma companies to work hard on a decent medication that can significantly reduce pain.

Brad B

Unfortunately the United States is always the last to do anything that might take away profits from the pharmaceutical industry. The US needs to put pain treatment in two separate categories…. those looking to make a quick buck and those that are in actual chronic pain.


Unfortunately, it seems that Canadian politicians are jumping on the American political bandwagon, screaming their heads off about addicts, not knowing or wanting to know the facts. People with chronic pain disabilities are starting to get nervous and feeling frightened here.