Film on Chronic Pain Nearing Release

Film on Chronic Pain Nearing Release

By Ed Coghlan.

Many of our readers have recommended that more needs to be done to educate people about the chronic pain issue.

An ambitious effort is nearing completion. It is a documentary called Pandemic of Denial that has been in production for several years and is being readying for release this year.

Tina Petrova, a Canadian whose non-profit is designed to educate about chronic pain, is an award-winning filmmaker who suffers from chronic pain. She and her production partner Eugene Weis have recorded literally hundreds of hours of interviews - has virtually completed editing and is now seeking Broadcast and Distribution Partners in Canada and the U.S.

They hope to release the film this year. Recently, Petrova gave the National Pain Report some thoughts about why they decided to embark on this 4-year long project.

National Pain Report: “What impact do you hope the documentary will have?

Tina Petrova: “Navigating through the health care system in both the US and Canada can be very frustrating, upsetting and protracted. Only if you are one of the lucky ones - and I emphasize lucky - to actually have a “Pain Specialist “ treating you, can one even begin to make sense of chronic pain as a disease, and all that this entails. In both Canada and the US, we are sadly under educated when it comes to chronic pain as a lifelong disease in its own right.

A 10-year old Toronto boy shares his battle with chronic pain in Pandemic of Denial, a documentary expected to be released this year.

“If, by making this feature film and taking an in depth look into the challenging lives of pain patients and their families we can educate, decipher, inform and help others navigate the complexity of our worlds- then we have accomplished what we set out to do as story tellers and filmmakers.

“Chronic Pain ends hopes and dreams and even lives at times - due to suicide and medical complications from managing it. 1 in 4 North Americans are reported to be living in daily chronic pain- More than cancer, heart disease and diabetes, combined. It is no small disease. - hence our title: Pandemic of Denial.”

National Pain Report: “You suffer from chronic pain - and it explains some of why you tackled this big and important topic. What else inspired you?”

Tina Petrova: “In my experience, many pain patients you speak with, will share that they had to self diagnose. It was their fervent searches on the internet that led them to understand that they had strange sounding diseases like CRPS and Arachnoiditis. It was these very patients that printed out information to bring to their primary care physicians and ask that the appropriate tests be done to determine a correct diagnoses and appropriate follow up treatment plan.

“According to recent published articles, doctors receive on average 7 hours of learning about chronic pain as a disease at medical school, while veterinarians receive some 70 hours for their animal counterparts. Note that specific bodily systems are covered in depth, such as managing and correcting pain from heart attack, pain from gall stone attack etc. - I am referring to chronic intractable pain as its own disease.

“I myself was shuffled from general practitioner to specialist after specialist - it took me 8 years of suffering undiagnosed to finally meet the pain physician who is treating me now. Hallelujah! Only 8 years. Sadly, that seems to be the norm when I reach out and dialogue with the chronic pain  community.

“I want adequate and better pain care for myself as I age - I watched my mother suffer horrendously the last 2 decades of her life with chronic pain conditions and her sister, my auntie languish in hospice for back pain not dissimilar to my own, the last 18 months of her life. I also wish that for others. If not me telling this story, then who? I decided not to wait for Deus ex Machina (God to drop down from the sky) and just do it.”

National Pain Report: “You delve into the research - or lack of it - in chronic pain.”

Tina Petrova: “Sadly the field of research into pain and the brain has been severely underfunded the last several decades. Opioids have long been held the gold standard in treating severe intractable pain, end of life pain, post cancer and surgical pain - among other pain conditions. Since opioid medications were developed and came into widespread use, there have been very little significant developments made in the field of pain care medicine and treatment.

“As a result, we have large numbers of pain patients who have been under professional supervised medical care, some for decades on stable doses of opioids, that due to a hostile regulatory environment for doctors, are having those very medications being either titrated down to minute doses or being taken off their medications completely.

“While I can appreciate that overdose deaths are a deadly and disturbing trend that need to be addressed head on, I also believe that being undertreated for intractable pain is just a serious an issue.

“I have been witness to multiple suicides in our national pain community resultant of being undertreated for pain these last 2 years. It is their stories that we bring into focus in our documentary - those of abandoned pain patients, undertreated pediatric pain, and the persecution of doctors for attempting to uphold their Hippocratic oath by agreeing to continue to treat pain aggressively where indicated, even when faced with loss of license or even incarceration.”

National Pain Report: “What happens with the documentary now?”

Tina Petrova: “We began the film in 2014 with a limited amount of startup funding. Due to angel investors and donated services we were able to film multiple interviews at a myriad of locations this past year from California to the mid-West to Canada to India.

“We are now in great shape with compelling stories and stunning cinematography - to seek TV Broadcasters and Distribution to move our film to the next level of production. Our primary focus will be entering into film festivals around the world later this year 2018 and organizing community screenings both across North America and beyond.

“As filmmakers and storytellers. We hope to reach as many people as possible and begin the overdue and badly needed conversation of what is CHRONIC PAIN, how best to approach treating it and how to encourage better funding for a cure.

“We hope to exhibit the film to medical schools, front line staff such as ER and social workers and pain groups that support and encourage education of the myriad of diseases that fall under the chronic pain rubric. We are also compiling a list of interested parties who would like to co-host screenings in their local communities.”

Editor’s Note: If you want to follow this project on Facebook, you can do it here.

If you’d like to talk with Tina and her team directly, she’s offered her email:

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Looking forward to seeing this. Pain patients deal with so much ignorance from the public and often the medical community as eell. Much success in this endeavor!


In regards to my previous post I did leave out the part where I say Thank You for creating this documentary. Great step in the right direction.


I have suffered from CRPS for 20 years. Currently seeking a new pain management doctor because the doctor I have been seeing for a few years is giving into pressure and has reduced my medication even though workers comp won’t approve treatment that has been approved of in the past that could put me in a position to possibly reduce my need for for the level of medication I am on. Recent changes to workers comp replaced a judge that you get to speak to in person with your attorney, with an Independent Medical Review Board that only see a piece of paper, make a decision about your care. I am being literally hit from both sides. I truly believe that until we as a group go to the government and protest or file a lawsuit nothing will be done about chronic pain patients being under treated and left to suffer. We read that the intent of the war against opioids isn’t to punish cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers but to weed out the people who take advantage. That is not what is happening. I say go after the dealers who bring the illegal fake drugs into the country and leave the doctors and chronic pain patients alone. Imagine what we could do if we all together as a group fought this. Sharing our stories is fine but won’t change anything.

Elizabeth McLeod

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making a documentary that describes the horror of living with chronic pain and having no medical support and/or proper treatments. I believe lack of medical care is criminal behaviour. My experience with a ‘Pain Clinic’ was a disaster. I was never seen in a ‘Pain Clinic’. I was seen on a ‘ Medicine Ward’. The Pain specialist I saw never gave me ‘Pain Clinic Intake Forms’ to fill out, she didn’t give me repeat visit ‘Pain Questionnaire sheets’ to fill out at subsequent consults, she misdiagnosed me and gave me the wrong type of treatment and medications. I was slandered in her first consult note! She actually said I had many lovers?! She was eluding to the fact that I was promiscuous and thus unworthy of good medical care. I was NOT PROMISCUOUS. I was a mature 51 year old educated woman who had one lover/ friend. Neither of us wanted to get married. How many women are unmarried and have a sex life? Intimacy beats auto erotica. I almost died from lack of pain control for a serious nerve compression injury. I had no sleep almost 30 months and was near death! Not one doctor here in B.C. believe me or helped me. They knew that Filshie clips from a previous tubal ligation had migrated into my pelvis and near my rectum but they hid this to protect the surgeon who applied them to my Fallopian tubes. I went above and beyond to get answers. I flew to see a neurologist in Ontario. I found out about him myself. He referred me to a specialist in Minnesota. The U.S. specialist diagnosed me with what I thought I had all along…pudendal nerve entrapment. It HURT! It BURNED every time I sat or lay down. The doctors here did not believe the U.S. specialist! Why not!?!? I was abandoned and left to die a slow and agonizing death from lack of proper nerve pain control and no sleep. Why? I was not a criminal. I had worked for 31 years at the best teaching hospital in my province. The doctors in British Columbia DID NOT care. ( Fraser Health SUCKS ). I had to hire a registered nurse consultant to get through all the doctors misrepresentations and lies! Hiring her saved my life. I finally had two rectal nerves released from the fascia and ligaments they had tethered to. The burning pain was gone. I have lost all faith in our health care system where I live. Fraser Health is not properly run. Doctors are making judgements about people instead of doing proper differential diagnoses. Just what are they taught in Medical School? One thing is for certain. If a woman is agitated and upset from a physical ailment/ injury it is likely emotion-based. What B.S.! I am not cyclothymic! This world is corrupt. Denying anyone in pain proper medication and treatments should be illegal. My Pain specialist committed fraud and is… Read more »

Robyn Karma

We need all our voices to be heard. Too many of us are suffering and it will only get worse. I am being reduced even though I don’t want to be. My pain will only get worse as time goes on. Pain meds have made it to where I can take care of myself. Once they reduce me too much I will be in a wheelchair or bed bound. I am lucky that they are reducing me slowly unlike two of my friends who were taken off without reducing and had severe withdrawls. One wound up hospitalized because her heart gave out. That is how dangerous it is. CBD oil worked for me but I can’t afford it and the insurance won’t pay for it because the US government has not recognized it as a medication. I am hoping this movie will show how bad things have gotten and how much worse it will get if pain patients aren’t treated. I am hoping the government will listen. They talk about people being on welfare, well guess what, more will be because they won’t be able to hold down a job. #GivePainAVoice


Tina, thank you so much for what you’re doing. There are so many of us that don’t know what to do or how to breakthrough to those making decisions affecting those of us in chronic pain and our doctors. I’m praying your work will benefit those you’re highlighting and the pain community as a whole. Thank you for taking on this huge but important task.

Yanekah Jacobs

This is a fantastic article and covers all the main issues in relationship to chronic pain. I had the pleasure of working on this project with Tina Petrova and Eugene Weis and this very important work highlights what life is like for those of us who live in chronic pain. As a graduate of Women’s Studies at York University and currently a Master’s candidate in Critical Disability Studies, my research focuses on the lived experience of people suffering with chronic pain. This film encompasses how this invisible disability impacts people’s lives from their own perspectives. This powerful research demonstrates how mistreated this segment of the population is by exposing the lack of resources and treatments available to those suffering. It also helps expose the stigma associated with those who suffer and the lack of ability to mobilize. Disability and invisible disabilities are grossly underrepresented at both the social and governmental levels leaving people to fight for themselves but people with chronic pain need help. They need to be recognized as a population suffering with a very serious chronic illness, like any other. As a patient advocate for physical and mental health, specifically in relationship to chronic pain, I urge you to get involved and do whatever you can to help further this cause. As a person who suffers with chronic pain, I can attest to the difficulty in pursuing meaningful change for those who have chronic pain. Please get involved in any way you can. Even if it’s just to share this article with your social and email networks.

You can also visit for more information on how to get involved.

Thanks for reading!

William Dorn

When the film comes out maybe you can get on some of the tv talk shows to talk about the film.Then millions will be able to hear and see the truth about those of us who live in a living hell.GOD BLESS YOU and all those who fight for us.

Kathy C

The Movie sounds great , though on their Facebook Page the CBD Oil Peddlers are already Marketing their products. If this Movie does introduce some facts it will be helpful, however, it might be too late for Facts. We have all been the Target of a very clear and terrifying experiment. Even the word pain has been altered and stricken from the Narrative. The motivations of these “helpers” many of them misguided and following a “Positive Thinking Toxic False Narrative” have infiltrated the Pain Community, the Media and the operators of these Websites. The Pain Community has been barraged by with nonsense and Pseudo Science, thanks to a Miscegenation of Psychology and Marketing. Years ago the Medical, Pharmacy, and Insurance Industries realized that Pain was an expensive and troublesome problem. They knew they had to get in front of. That is where the “Positive Psychology” Movement came in. Marketing Psychologist monitored the actions of online Groups, in order to counter the “Free Flow of Information.” They had to counter any attempt by Patients to expose the inequities in our Health Care System. Any Factual Information had to be countered. The current Situation did not happen by accident, it was carefully and strategically done by manipulating public perception. The Happiness Movement, started with an Experiment on dogs tortured with Electrical Shocks, to prove “Learned Helplessness.” A decade later with the help of some right wing billionaires, who latched on to the “Learned Helplessness Model, because they could us it to explain away Poverty, Despair, and Pain. This launched the career of Martin Seligman the former President of the American Psychological Association. Seligman’s career really took off when our Government decided to use Torture on detainees. There was years of research that proved that torture did not work, done by our Military,and other Agencies. They enlisted the help of the APA, and Martin Seligman was happy to comply. With extensive experience in Marketing Psychology, they were able to sell Torture to our Government and the American Public. Since then there has been a War on the nature of reality. Seligman’s Principle have been used to manipulate Public opinion on nearly everything. Education “Reformers” used them to undermine our Educational System. the Children were not struggling due to Poverty and adverse events at home, they just need “Grit.” They used these principles to underfund Schools, or turn them Profitable. The Military embraced Seligman’s ideas, they gave him multi Million Dollar Contracts to create a “Resilience Campaign.” The idea that our Soldiers were coming back traumatized by War, was re branded, they could be trained in resilience.” Pain was conflated to mean both physical or Mental, those concepts were interchangeable. Even the so called “Opiate Epidemic” was a rebranded misleading campaign, they had to conflate Pain Patients with Heroin Addicts and they succeeded. Years of “News Articles written in a careful way, changed public perception. Nearly every “Scientific Article” promoted by the News and Medical Sites had to reflect negatively on opiates or patients… Read more »

Nancy Wilson

Thank you for making this movie to help bring attention to the suffering of chronic pain patients and the rising rate of suicide among chronic pain patients . God bless you

vicky swift

Thank you SO much for doing this! It needs doing. Until the veil of ignorance in the country is lifted, chronic pain patients will continue to be persecuted like criminals. While we struggle with daily pain that, yes, often causes us to debate suicide. It’s inhumane.

I will do my part by making my pain specialist aware of this film. He’s trying his best, but the insurance co’s may harass him out of biz. BCBS already dropped him for “over prescribing”.

which he does NOT due, they are super conservative, and everything by the book.

Yes, I could use stronger pain meds, but its to the point where I’m afraid to ask. Trying to supplement with pot, but it makes me spacey during work hours. May have to try edibles. Meanwhile is there anything new coming that may help us? Ketamine has a new nasal spray being launched, you don’t get any of the high feeling, but all of the pain relief.

still, it may cause brain damage. I’m not even sure i care at this point.


Thank ALL of you for getting this film going wi th appropriate and necessary education. People have NO clue! If you “look” put-together on the “outside” they THINK you’re fine on the “inside.”
MAYBE someone will wake up!!!

Ted McNeill

Thank you for your excellent news ereport! I am in chronic pain from four back surgeries, one failed miserably. I have arachnoiditis and peripheral neuropathy in both legs. Yesterday my Pain Management doctor gave me an ultimatum, lower my 100mg fentanyl patch to 75mg or leave and find someone else. I am forced to leave since I was given no care plan if the lower dose did not work. My previous doctors at VA tried to lower my dose and the outcome was terrible so I was switched back. Of coarse the VA forced me to leave their pain care as they refused to dispense any fentanyl or oxycodone. I am so depressed by the treatment I have received due to my chronic pain needs to have any quality of life. I appreciate your calling for effective pain relief methods.


This is just awesome. Best of luck to Mr. Petrova in getting this project to goal and many thanks to his whole crew. God bless them.

Judy giovanni

Thank you for all your time & hard work getting this information together and working on people hearing it. Have you also considered the possibility of it being picked up as a feature film like the Bowling for Columbine. This is a worldwide issue and so poorly understood and treated. I think the topic could support a feature movie. Just a thought when you’re looking for it to go into production & distribution.

Being under treated is very scary and ppl who don’t experience not only the chronic pain, but the desperation felt to have someone hear our cry for help. Others can’t understand the emotions a person goes through when in the midst of a flare up or days on end of exhausting pain and just how drained one feels. Best wishes and I look forward to hearing your progress. Feel well


I cannot put into words how thrilled I am to see a documentary directed toward the struggles we are facing on a daily/hourly basis. And the effects on our loved ones. Thank you Thank you so very much!

Thank you and your team so very much. I hope this is viewed by all of those mentioned in this article, and very much pray that political powers that be who are influencing the guidelines and current atmosphere in the chronic pain community take the time to view it.

Terry Ott

Thank you to all who are involved for your efforts in helping to give us a voice in this urgent discussion.

Mareaeric Campagna

God bless you Tina for taking this imperative isssue to the screen! I will pray for this to come to completion, that eyes will be opened and that this movie will be a large vehicle of voice so that drastic changes are made to help all of us in the chronic pain family get the help we need and laws will be changed.

Tina Petrova

A big thanks to Editor Ed Coghlan, for his compassion and insights into the world of Chronic Pain and his willingness to share patient stories. The Pendulum has swung too far towards an almost complete loss of appropriate and timely paincare for many North Americans. We hope through making this timely film, that we can begin a National discussion that will lead to positive and swift changes in paincare , for us all.

You are truly a warrior for the community of
People who have had Pain
People who will have Pain,
And people who have Pain Right now.
Thank you.
I have watched this project grow,
Suffer extreme losses,
Just like we all can.
I admire you
I acknowledge your commitment and
Your stand FOR healing.
Be well.



Maureen M.

Tina and staff, Thank you for your excellent efforts in making this film. I will be looking forward to seeing it one day. ‘Best of all’ with getting it picked up for Broadcast. I hope it happens quickly for you! Maureen M.