The great forgotten of the chronic pain

Photo: Renaud Philippe The Duty
“I do my dishes in three shots. I am no longer able to do my household”, says Chantale Verreault.

In Québec, one person in five suffers from chronic pain, an invisible evil that often lives in solitude, and in front of which the health system is disarmed in many ways. Some patients must wait years before receiving appropriate treatment.

Chantale Verreault, 46 years old, was ” evil all the time “. The pain in his neck began to infect her daily life ten years ago. She was then working for a distributor of vegetables to peel potatoes on an assembly line. Always the same movement, the head inclined to the bottom. “I finished my day by hollering. There was nothing that would take the edge off. “

At the beginning, I was hurting after a hour of work. But in the end, after 10 minutes, I had for the rest of the day to have a sore.
Chantale Verreault, who suffers from chronic pain

His family doctor has prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, and recommended to do certain exercises… ” At the beginning, I was hurting after a hour of work. But in the end, after 10 minutes, I had for the rest of the day to have a sore. “


She would have liked to have a job where you don’t have to stay standing, but without a diploma of secondary 5, the choices were limited. Problems in his personal life have worsened things. To the point where it started to get morphine and Dilaudid on the black market. And to see his life completely skidding.


Two years ago, she was convinced to participate in a detox program. After two and a half years of efforts, She is now to the capsules of morphine to extended duration of effect.


It no longer works since a long time, but the pain, the flake always. “I do my dishes in three shots. I am no longer able to do my household “, she summarizes sobs in the voice.


One in five


Chantale is the representation extreme of a problem affecting thousands of people in Quebec. “This is a big problem,” explains Dr. Jean-Pierre Dropinski, doctor at the Center for interdisciplinary pain management at the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis. “There are a considerable part of the population that does not have access to a minimum of listening to, and services. “


In Quebec, it is estimated that 20 % of people suffer from a chronic pain acute. There are no precise statistics on the subject, but if it relies on waiting lists of centres in the pain field, we can easily speak of thousands of patients affected. “Family doctors will relieve a big part of these problems. But in many cases, they are short of solutions, ” continues Mr. Dropinski.

20 %

It is the proportion of Quebecers who suffer from a chronic pain acute.

It is estimated that pain becomes chronic when it persists for more than three months. After that, the risk of depression and psychological distress increase. The frequency of suicidal thoughts in people with chronic pain is three times higher than in the rest of the population.


Some are coping with back pain is severe and constant, others with arthritis advanced. Many suffer the consequences of a work accident or suffer from fibromyalgia.


Centres pain overwhelmed


The best way to treat these people must really be “multidisciplinary,” says Manon Choinière, a researcher specialized in the treatment of pain at the University of Montreal. “It takes a doctor, a psychologist, a physiotherapist and a pharmacist who are involved in the management of this type of problem,” she said.

Photo: Renaud Philippe The Duty
Céline Charbonneau

An approach being put into practice in about thirty centres for pain which pushed him to Quebec for a few years. But do not who wants. “A patient will be so lucky to have appointments once a year,” says Céline Charbonneau of the quebec Association for chronic pain. Chantale, for example, is on the waiting list for over two years.


This gives rise to paths particularly chaotic in the health system. Patients have consulted up to 23 health professionals when they are knocking at the door of the pain Clinic, according to a study published in the journal pain Research and Management.


“The people who come to the clinic come from very far “, noting the Dr Dropinski. Failure to treat these people early, they clog just system elsewhere, ” he said.


A two-speed medicine


In the absence of access to pain clinics, family physicians can theoretically try things and lead themselves, their patients to psychologists or physiotherapists.


It is also necessary that the patients can afford it. In physiotherapy, for example, more than 18 000 people are waiting for an appointment in the public network, according to a recent study. The family doctors have little margin of manoeuvre, says Sylvain Dion, a general practitioner who practices on the South Shore of Quebec city. “When we have a patient that we want to direct to the physiotherapy, the first question they asked is : do you have insurance ? “


For road accident victims, or of the work, access is easier. Same thing for people in postoperative follow-up. But as soon as it escapes these two categories, it is the cross and the banner.


“It was really a two-speed medicine,” said Dr. Dion.