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Chronic pain: few treatments available

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Chronic pain: few treatments available

Chronic neck pain

Nearly 8 million Canadians live with chronic pain. PHOTO: iStock

Although chronic pain is recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO), available treatments and resources are slow to materialize.

Claude Roberto, founder of the Edmonton Nerve Pain association, a support group for neuropathy, and author of the book At Peace with Pain, says that since the WHO recognized chronic pain as a disease in its own right in 2019, little has changed.

Patients are often on their own trying to find ways to reduce their pain. Until now [on ne voit] not many changes for treatments. That is to say, there may be medication or patients may go to a chiropractor, may have massages, which is relatively expensive, she points out.

Despite the fact that millions of Canadians suffer from chronic pain, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the disease, including within the medical profession, she believes.

There is a huge amount of work to be done for patients, for the general public and then of course also for doctors.

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Claude Roberto, founder of the Edmonton Nerve Pain association and author of the book At Peace with Pain

Claude Roberto mentions that the nature of this disease makes it difficult to identify and treat, among other things, because for a long time people who were affected by it were told that the pain was in their head.

Devices that look at patients’ brains can help doctors better understand their pain, she says, but they’re expensive and not available to everyone.

Claude Roberto hopes that new treatments can be developed and that the quality of life of patients can be improved over the next few years.

We are no longer going to associate mental illness with chronic pain and that is important, she points out.

She also hopes that insurance companies will improve their coverage to allow patients with chronic pain to have access to better care.

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