The Charter of Canadian Pain Consumer Rights and Responsibilities highlights the fact that Canadians have the right to receive timely, best-practice care for their pain. The Charter also points out that people with pain have a responsibility to help themselves by being knowledgeable about their pain. People with pain have a responsibility to actively participate in their own care and in decisions about their care in partnership with health professionals.
Finding ways to help yourself is an important part of living a healthy, fulfilled, productive life in spite of the persistent (chronic) pain. This makes sense because the pain is happening to you and as a result, you have a great deal of insight into the treatments and strategies that work for you. There are many ways that you can help yourself. They include:
- Learn all you can about your pain condition, how the pain affects you and ways that you can adapt your lifestyle to "live well" with the pain. Make sure that the information you obtain is from reliable, medically approved sources. There is a great deal of misleading, personal opinion-based information out there. Sources of good information include your health professionals, books and articles about pain and self help, and websites containing medically approved information.
- Ask your physician for a referral to a multi-disciplinary pain clinic. At such a clinic, where you have access to the knowledge and expertise of many different health professionals in one place.
- Enroll in a self-management course where you learn helpful strategies for managing your pain more effectively. These courses are often run by people living with pain who have been trained to deliver the course. For more information, see the next page in this section, entitled "Self-management Programs."
- Join or start a Support/Self Help Group. Becoming involved in a support group that provides a positive experience for you has many benefits. For more information about a pain support group near you, visit www.chronicpaincanada.com
- Volunteer to help others. When people are focused on helping others they actually take a break from thinking about their own challenges. They also feel good about themselves because they are making a difference in the world.
- Support initiatives that will increase awareness of pain issues as well as promote sustained improvement in how pain is understood, treated and managed in Canada. You will ultimately benefit from the successes of these initiatives. For more information, see the "Support Groups" page on this site.