One in four.
That’s how many Canadians—an estimated 7.63 million in total—aged 15 or older who are are living with chronic pain.
The proportion is even higher among people 65 and over: one in three.
While we’re learning more about what might be happening when someone has pain with no obvious cause—no visible injury or damage that can be detected by existing scans or tests—there’s a lot we still don’t understand about what causes chronic pain.
And unfortunately, while there are treatments that can help improve quality of life for people who are living with persistent pain, these aren’t always easy to access, even in a country with supposedly universal health care.
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so kindly shared their stories and expertise:
- Dr. Norm Buckley, professor emeritus in the Department of Anaesthesia in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and scientific director of the Chronic Pain Network.
- Ann Marie Gaudon, a registered social worker and psychotherapist with CP Counselling Services in Kitchener, Ont.
- Dr. Deepak Ravindran, a pain specialist with the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust in Reading, Berkshire, UK, and author of The Pain Free Mindset: 7 Steps to Taking Control and Overcoming Chronic Pain (Penguin, 2021).
- Dr. Tim Salomons, a pain researcher and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
- Linda Wilhelm of Hampton, NB, who is a patient partner with the Chronic Pain Network, and the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance.