Across both Ontario and Canada there are support groups that bring together people suffering with chronic pain. Many of these groups are members of the Chronic Pain Association of Canada (CPAC). Their Mission is to improve the quality of life and daily function of people who suffer from pain, through education and awareness of community resources. Members share experiences and advice about the life changes that they are going through, while offering one another emotional comfort and moral support.
While group therapy is a formal type of mental health treatment under the guidance of a trained health care provider, these pain support groups are facilitated by volunteers, often a lay person. They offer free admission. Usually the only requirement for attendance is that the activities discussed in the group are kept confidential. While members meet for mutual support and learn about financial, social, medical and other needed resources, they also learn that each person with chronic pain is different. The latter is a very important lesson!
Benefits of participating in support groups may include:
- Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
- Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
- Reducing distress, depression or anxiety
- Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect with your situation
- Getting practical advice or information about treatment options
- Comparing notes about resources, such as doctors and medications
- Learning about the types of financial and legal assistance that may be available
- Meetings others who are successfully living with yours or a similar condition
- Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
Most of all, support groups offer HOPE. Living with chronic pain sometimes means living a life at less than full strength. Life can still be rich when lived like this. The members of support groups can help show us how to manage our pain and adapt our lives suc- cessfully.
The Chronic Pain Association of Canada has a list of peer led chronic pain support groups from across Canada, including Ontario. The link is http://redirect.hp.com/svs/rdr? TYPE=4&s=webslice&tp=iefavbar&pf=cnnb&locale=en_us&bd=pavi lion&c=103