The continuing COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and isolating, but please know that you're not alone. During this time, Pain BC is committed to continuing to do what we’ve always done: working towards a future where no one is alone with pain.
Below, you'll find a list of news, information and resources that people in pain may find helpful during this time. This list will be updated regularly as more information and resources become available. Please check back regularly.
General COVID resources
- If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, visit Healthlink BC or call 811
- If you're a senior who needs practical help to stay at home during COVID-19, such as someone to pick up groceries for you, call 211 or visit BC211
- To find the best source of COVID-19 health information in BC, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website
- To read daily COVID-19 updates from the Province of British Columbia, click here.
Mental health and substance use resources
- Call 310-6789 toll-free anywhere in BC, 24 hours a day, to access emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health and substance use issues.
- The Hope for Wellness Helpline offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Call 1-855-242-3310 toll-free or start a confidential chat with a counsellor at hopeforwellness.ca.
- For mental health and substance use resources for all ages, visit Wellness Together Canada where you can access free counselling and support as well as self-guided courses, apps and other resources.
- The Government of BC has put together a list of virtual resources for mental health.
- The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition has gathered resources and guidance on best practices for people who use drugs during COVID. Read more.
COVID-19 resources for people with pain
Pain BC supports and resources
- Gentle Movement @ Home recordings provide guided movement and relaxation for people living with pain from the comfort of their homes. The sessions are led by physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals and are designed to help people with persistent pain learn to feel safe to move again. You can access our archive of dozens of video recordings on Pain BC's YouTube channel. Find out more
- Pain Support Line: Our Pain Support Line remains open to provide support, resources and a listening ear to people with pain. You can reach us by calling 1-844-880-PAIN (toll-free), emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out our self-referral form.
- Coaching for Health: As a telephone-based service, our Coaching for Health program is not impacted by social distancing measures and is continuing to operate as usual.
- Pain Support and Wellness Groups: To support physical distancing, all our previously in-person Pain Support and Wellness Groups have moved online. Each Zoom support group session will allow participants to share their experiences, discuss self-management skills and participate in gentle movements as a group. You can also call in if you are unable to connect to the group via the internet.
- LivePlanBe: LivePlanBe is our free, online education and self-management resource for people with pain. It's a great place to find ideas for managing anxiety, ideas for social-distancing-friendly paced activities, mindfulness and breathing strategies, and more.
- PainWaves Podcast: We've published two podcast episodes on COVID-19 and pain:
- Catastrophizing: How it relates to pain and the current coronavirus pandemic. We talk to Dr. Bronnie Lennox Thompson, a world-renowned pain educator and researcher about what catastrophizing is, how it relates to pain and the current coronavirus pandemic, and tips for how people in pain can manage catastrophic thoughts and take care of themselves during this public health emergency. Listen now.
How COVID-19 and physical distancing are impacting people with pain. In this lived experience episode, we speak to five people living with pain from across Canada about how COVID-19 and the associated restrictions are impacting their ability to manage pain, well-being and other aspects of daily life. Listen now.
- Free webinar on anxiety and pain: Watch this webinar recording on Coping with anxiety and pain during COVID-19. Psychologist Dr. Angie Ji discusses the relationship between anxiety and pain and shares several coping strategies people in pain can utilize to manage anxiety, and in turn pain, during this time of uncertainty.
Virtual care from pain clinics and related services
- The CHANGEpain clinic is offering video Group Medical Visits (GMV) for people living with pain during COVID-19. These group appointments for patients are physician-led and are covered by MSP for BC residents who have a valid BC CareCard Number. Find out more
- The Canadian Pain & Regenerative Institute is currently offering the following virtual services to people living with pain: MSP-covered consults and follow-ups by anaesthesiology; private psychology; private physiotherapy; primary care sports medicine and physiatry physicians (referral needed); and MSP-covered group medical visits (referral needed). Find out more
- Rise Above Pain is offering online consultations with their interdisciplinary pain team. Find out more.
- Solis Integrative Health is offering online or telephone appointments for people with pain looking to connect with practitioners from a variety of disciplines including acupuncture/Chinese Medicine, kinesiology, physiotherapy, and Indigenous Medicine. Find out more.
- The UBC Pharmacists Clinic has transitioned to virtual services and is able to provide support to people in pain who are on complex drug therapies and need extra time with a pharmacist. Its services are available for free and can be accessed by phone or secure videoconference. People with chronic pain who would like to request an appointment with a pharmacist can do so through this secure email link or by calling 604-827-2584.
Pharmacy prescribing rules
BC pharmacists can now provide medication refills to people in pain, including opioid medications, without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. This measure intends to prevent people from needing to visit overcrowded medical clinics and promotes safe social distancing, and will also free up medical professionals to treat urgent COVID-19 related cases. Please note that your doctor or pharmacist may not be aware of these recent changes and you may need to inform them. As of November 2021, prescriptions can be transferred between provinces. Read more
Health Canada has issued temporary exemptions to maintain access for people with pain who are currently taking opioid medications. The exemption enables Canadian pharmacists to extend or refill opioid medications without a renewed prescription, transfer opioid prescriptions to other pharmacists as needed and deliver opioid medications to people in pain who are self-isolating at home. These exemptions are in addition to the recent regulatory changes announced by the College of Pharmacists of BC. Read the full exemption notice
Support for kids and teens living with pain and their families
Support for caregivers
Family Caregivers of BC continues to offer support and resources for caregivers through their toll-free Caregiver Support Line. Call 1-877-520-3267 Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 4:00pm.
Financial supports during COVID-19
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): The CSRB provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. If you are eligible, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes) for a 1-week period. If your situation continues, you can apply again for up to a total of 6 weeks until May 7, 2022. Read more.
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB): The CWLB gives temporary income support to employed and self-employed people who cannot work due to a COVID-19 lockdown order designated for their region. If you are eligible for the CWLB, you can receive $300 ($270 after taxes) for each 1-week period. You may apply for any weeks your region is eligible until May 7, 2022. Read more.
- Connect with others in pain on the free, anonymous LivePlanBe forum
- Connect with us on Facebook
- Connect with us on Twitter or join the broader Twitter conversation using the #COVIDpain hashtag