The self-help groups in chronic pain are increasing in Quebec

Photo: Renaud Philippe The Duty
After output, Muriel Marois restores today by leading a support group for people who suffer from chronic pain in Quebec.

Accustomed to offer his help to the sick, Muriel Marois has seen his life turned upside-down when in 2007 the chronic pain erupted in his life. After exit, it restores again today by leading a support group for those who suffer.


The group meeting takes place in a small auditorium of the Child-Jesus in Quebec city. Two dozen people are displaced. “It is little,” said Muriel to our arrival. This is because of the bad weather. “


There are 17 self-help groups of this type in Quebec. In the space of two years, their number has doubled.


This is the number of self-help groups for those who suffer from chronic pain that currently exist in Quebec. In the space of two years, their number has almost doubled.

Aged 71 years, Muriel, in fact, ten of less. Sitting at the front of the group, she listens to the interventions to the sides of a young woman who suffers from fibromyalgia. “Don’t forget the support line. You can call any time if you are in distress. “


In a row at the back, a man in his sixties expressed his frustration. “We don’t even know where is our file to get to the pain Clinic. It’s been four years that I wait. “


Most are spreading, not on the nature of their disease, but rather on the state in which it immerses. They speak of their ” mourning “, their ” anger “. It was a bit like being in a meeting of alcoholics anonymous. God in the least.

They also come to have a place where to speak. Nobody wants to hear about the pain. This is not a topic that is fun.
Muriel Marois, facilitator of a support group for people who suffer from chronic pain

“People come to us when they have an insoluble problem. They do not have a doctor or they do not yet know too what is their diagnosis… They would like to enter at the pain Clinic, but don’t know how, ” explains Muriel. But they also come to have a place where to speak. Nobody wants to hear about the pain. This is not a topic that is fun. “


A man recalls his marriage problems. A woman tells in swallowing his sobs at what point she feels judged by her family. “With them, I am excessively belittled. To them, I am the big BS. It does not appear, the pain. “


Muriel chimed in. “I have friends who do not understand that I was hurting. I was not able to share with them what I share here. It was frowned upon that I take opiates. “


The pain as a temporary


For her, the sharp pain came suddenly in march 2007. She was 61 years old at the time. “I woke up in the middle of the night in terrible pain. I had a herniated cervical compressed nerve root. It is a pain that I have already placed 9 out of 10 for not to have to say 10 on 10… “

20 %

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

The shock was all the more brutal that she had rather a habit to be on the side of the helpers rather than the helped. Formed in physiotherapy and in psychology, she worked as a counsellor with social in NURSING homes. She had to retire early.


“Normally, a hernia, after three months, it clears up. But for me, after a year, I still had very bad. It was a sensation of tearing of the arm. It was really difficult and it has been very long. “


Unlike others, Muriel was able to be seen at the pain Clinic relatively quickly (six months after its listing in 2010). But the doctors quickly realized that they could not help, and that the infiltration of cortisone were more than anything else. They have, therefore, directed to the department of psychology.


The frequency of suicidal thoughts in people with chronic pain are three times higher than in the rest of the population.

There, she meets the psychologist Frederic Dionne, author of the book ” Free yourself of the pain. “He told us of we imagine that you were the driver of a bus. And a day came on the bus a passenger really unpleasant. To him, it is pain, but you have no choice but to let him enter because a bus, it lets the whole world. “


Little by little


In short, it had to do with the passenger. “That, to me, I found it very difficult to accept. I don’t accept. “Then, she fought to find a cure, a solution. “At one point, he introduced us to meditation and I discovered that it really had an impact on my pain. For me, I could do something for me. This is what I try to convey to people in the groups. They can do something for them. Not always wait until after the doctor, the psychologist… We can draw from within us the forces that we never thought to have. “


However, meditation alone does not the whole set. Gradually, Muriel has recovered to move on, to go to the pool. “After three years, I was déconditionnée physically. “Initially, she could not swim and had to just shake the feet, supported on a deep-fried styrofoam, both arms dangling.


“At least I was doing something, I was doing my bag, I would go there. It was something I was doing for me. “After that, it was the ice, which is a little more morphine. “Little by little, I realized that the pain was less strong. Not only I had fun, but it helped me also. “Years later, she was able to do the crawl.


Since then, she has swapped swimming for a workout in the gym three times a week. She no longer affects to morphine for six years, but still retains contact with the support group. Because she is not about to forget everything that happened. “It’s so nice to arrive in an environment where you’re not the only one to live it. One realizes that one has had a similar experience. It is easy to understand. “