There are nearly 2 billion people worldwide that are suffering from chronic pain. In Canada, as many as 60% of working-aged adults will either lose their job or incur loss of income as a direct result of chronic pain, and it is also one of the leading causes of disability in the country.
Chronic pain is categorized into two types: Nociceptive pain, which is caused as a result of damage being done to the body tissue; and Neuropathic pain, which is the result of nerve damage. Nociceptive-related pain is often described as a throbbing, acting or sharp kind of pain, while people with Neuropathic-related pain usually describe it as a burning or tingling sensation, and even numbness. Examples of the different types of chronic pain that an individual can experience include headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, pelvic pain, back pain, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sciatica, and even TMJ disorders.
For many, chronic pain is not only debilitating from a physical aspect, but it can also cause a deterioration in one’s mental health, causing everything from stress to anxiety, and even severe depression. When mental and physical conditions co-exist, quality of life can diminish, and because of how much of an impact chronic pain can have on your mental health, it’s important to make sure you have a good support system around you that not only includes a team of medical professionals, but also the support of your friends and family. In addition, Dr. Ali Ghahary also notes that finding support groups can be beneficial, as connecting with people who can relate to what you’re going through can sometimes help you through the process and allow you to not only find different coping mechanisms, but you might also make some new friends. However, when it comes to actually finding those support groups, people often don’t know where to begin.
Below, Dr. Ghahary has compiled together a list of various support groups for chronic pain sufferers. If there is a group you’d like to see added to the list, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet Dr. Ghahary at @DrAliGhahary on Twitter.
Pain BC’s Virtual Peer Support Community
As chronic pain comes in many forms, sometimes even resulting in individuals being confined to their home, online support groups are their only option. Through Pain BC’s virtual peer support community you can connect with other individuals province-wide and share information about what works for you vs. what doesn’t, as well as find other resources. Visit Pain BC’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/PainBC for more info.
Pain BC’s Pain Connect Line
In addition to offering online support, Pain BC also recently launched their Pain Support Line – formerly known as Connect for Health. Their trained volunteers provide individuals with a safe space to discuss pain and its impact, can provide pain-based community resources, and even help you find a physician. You can reach out to the Pain Connect Line by calling them toll-free at 1-844-880-PAIN or by e-mailing email@example.com. You can also connect with them by filling out their self-referral form.
People in Pain Network
A non-profit organization that provides peer-led pain management and education groups across various parts of Canada including British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and the Yukon, with the goal to expand across other parts of the country in the near future. You can out more about them, including their full calendar of support groups, by visiting www.pipain.com.
Seven Spoons Chat
Created for chronically ill and disabled people, Seven Spoons uses WhatsApp to create friendly chat groups for those suffering from different health conditions. It allows chronically ill and disabled individuals to come together, have a chat, share personal experiences and tips, vent, laugh, and make new friends. To join or to find out more info, visit www.sevenspoonschat.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Available through Android or iOS, Reachout is an app that gives individuals support right in the palm of their hands. Along with chronic pain, it also allows users to discuss everything from mental health to cancer, diabetes to heart disease, and even personal relationships. To find out more about the app and its creators, Dr. Rashmi Jain and Sunil Modi, visit www.reachout.life.
Chronic Body Pain
With over 200,000 members on their Facebook group, this is one of the most comprehensive and informative online chronic pain support groups. You can find even more information on how to cope with chronic pain/pain management tips by visiting their website at www.chronicbodypain.net.