November 5-11 marks National Pain Awareness Week. Nearly 8 million Canadians live with chronic pain and wait lists for specialized care are up to two years long.
Women’s College Hospital (WCH), in collaboration with other hospitals, academic establishments, community groups and individuals living with chronic pain, has joined forces to create the Power Over Pain Portal, Canada’s first virtual chronic pain management portal. Funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program, Power Over Pain presents a range of free, evidence-based virtual materials to help both young people and adults in coping with their chronic pain.
“We want people to have access to pain care resources and supports right away, not in months from now. It can also be challenging to know what resources are trustworthy, especially online. The portal addresses those concerns by providing evidence-based information and resources to support pain management,” says Rachael Bosma, Research Lead at Women’s College Hospital and co-lead of the adult portal. “This is one piece of the puzzle to enhance access to pain care. People can also work with their healthcare providers to use the portal as a tool and guide as part of their treatment plan.”
When Emeralda was involved in a car accident, she suffered injuries that caused her debilitating chronic pain.
“It’s exhausting. You can wake up in the mornings and not be able to function,” she says. “I have ongoing pain throughout the day, which takes up so much energy in my body.”
Alongside clinicians and others living with chronic pain, Emeralda helped co-design the portal to ensure that the resources are valuable and effective. From online workshops to peer support and one-on-one counselling, the portal allows the patient to be at the centre of their own pain care journey.
“I wouldn’t be able to work, walk my dog, or even get coffee with my friends without the self-management resources,” says Emeralda. “It’s changed my life.”
To access the Power Over Pain portal, visit poweroverpain.ca