250 physicians and health-care providers from other disciplines across Saskatchewan took part in a two-day conference in Saskatoon focusing on acute and chronic pain.
Dr. Susan Tupper, a Strategy Consultant for Pain Quality Improvement at the Saskatoon Health Region, says one in five Canadians are living with chronic pain, which can severely hamper quality of life in some cases.
Dr. Tupper says Saskatchewan is one of the few provinces without a multidisciplinary chronic pain clinic.
“Ensure that no stone has been unturned, and they have a comprehensive understanding of what the mechanisms of pain are, and also they get recommendations from a wide range of disciplines, as well as treatment for managing the pain or managing the substance abuse disorder.”
Tupper says they have had discussions with the province of opening a centre, and hopes a rise in opioid-related deaths in Canada helps push the Ministry of Health to move forward with a clinic.
“With the opioid crisis, I think there is perhaps a growing interest or a growing recognition that effective pain management is a really important strategy to help mitigate the development of substance abuse disorders because we know that under-managed pain is one of the pathways towards substance abuse disorder for people.”
Tupper says patients in Saskatchewan either need to pay for private physiotherapy or massage therapy, or treat the chronic pain with opioids, which can be addictive and aren’t as effective as time wears on.
Tupper says one in five people live with chronic pain.