Help exists for chronic pain sufferers

January 17, 2018

'A significant number of people in the province are affected by chronic pain, according to Pain BC director Jennifer Hanson. One in five British Columbians suffer from the condition, which translates to roughly 4,000 Powell River residents.

According to the National Institute of Health, chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. It can arise from an initial injury such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as an illness that brings it on. However, in many cases there is no clear reason.

Effects of chronic pain can lead to other health problems such as fatigue, sleep disturbances and mood changes. These can potentially impact the quality of life of not only the sufferer, but also those who support them.

Although the focus used to be simply on alleviating the pain, in recent years that has shifted toward self-management, as well as increasing public knowledge and awareness.

According to Hanson, it is important that those who suffer from chronic pain are aware of the many resources available to them throughout the province and within Powell River.

“People living with chronic pain should know they’re not alone,” said Hanson.

Local resources are currently available to help people afflicted and also their support network, said Powell River Division of Family Practice assistant project manager Kerri Carlson. In 2017, the division launched an extensive two-year investigation into chronic pain. Part of its project is making the supports available to the community more widely known.

The group is hosting a number of upcoming events in town that will focus on the management and support of those who deal with pain of a frequent basis.

Local cartoonist Wendy Brown has been suffering from chronic pain for most of her life. She defines it as endless, often debilitating and anger inducing. Finding ways to manage it have been key to her success.

“You can either fall victim to it, or you can find a way to live with it,” said Brown, who said she has found many ways to help manage her pain over the years and one of them has been humour.

Last year, Brown wrote and illustrated a book about her experiences travelling with chronic pain. One of the messages in the book is to get up and keep moving if possible.

“Maybe because it started so early with me, and also because I've always had a passion for life, I just refused to become an invalid,” said Brown. “I found ways to live with it and around it.”

Beginning Tuesday, January 23, a relaxation and gentle movement class will be held for chronic pain management at Nourish Wellness Studio. A similar class will be offered at the Cranberry Seniors Centre starting on Monday, January 29.

A chronic pain management information meeting will be held from 4:45-5:45pm on Wednesday, January 31, at Powell River Public Library. A seminar and workshop will follow in April.

Other resources available to the community include a six-week chronic pain self-management program. For more information, go to'

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Sara Donnelly

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