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Pain Research and Management
Volume 12 (2007), Issue 1, Pages 39-47
Original Article

Chronic Pain in Canada: Have We Improved Our Management of Chronic Noncancer Pain?

Aline Boulanger,1 Alexander J Clark,2 Pamela Squire,3 Edward Cui,4 and GLA Horbay4

1Department of Anaesthesia, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Chronic Pain Centre, Calgary Health Region and Department of Anaesthesia, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
3Lions Gate Hospital, Oncology Pain Clinic, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
4Janssen-Ortho Inc, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) is a global issue, not only affecting individual suffering, but also impacting the delivery of health care and the strength of local economies.

OBJECTIVES: The current study (the Canadian Chronic Pain Study II [CCPSII]) was designed to assess any changes in the prevalence and treatment of CNCP, as well as in attitudes toward the use of strong analgesics, compared with a 2001 study (the CCPSI), and to provide a snapshot of the current standards of care for pain management in Canada.

METHODS: Standard, computer-assisted telephone interview survey methodology was applied in two segments, ie, a general population survey and a survey targeting randomly selected primary care physicians (PCPs) who treat moderate to severe CNCP.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The patient-reported prevalence of CNCP within Canada has not markedly changed since 2001 but the duration of suffering has decreased. There have been minor changes in regional distribution and generally more patients receive medical treatment, which includes prescription analgesics. Physicians continue to demonstrate opiophobia in their prescribing practices; however, although this is lessened relating to addiction, abuse remains an important concern to PCPs. Canadian PCPs, in general, are implementing standard assessments, treatment approaches, evaluation of treatment success and tools to prevent abuse and diversion, in accordance with guidelines from the Canadian Pain Society and other pain societies globally, although there remains room for improvement and standardization.