About ACTION Ontario
- Formed in 2005, ACTION Ontario is the voice of people living with neuropathic pain, a particularly debilitating form of chronic pain. ACTION is an innovative not-for-profit organization that is made up of doctors, researchers, other healthcare professionals and patients committed to seeing improvements in the diagnosis and care of people with this condition and other forms of chronic pain.
About Neuropathic Pain
- Neuropathic pain, a particularly debilitating and misunderstood form of chronic pain, affects over one million Ontarians. Neuropathic pain results from injury or disease of the nerves, the spinal cord or the brain and has many causes, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, shingles, AIDS, cancer, nerve damage and spinal cord trauma.
About Chronic Pain
- Chronic pain affects 20-30% of Ontarians and includes neuropathic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain and headaches.
- Chronic pain is a serious public health concern that will grow as our population ages. And it is not just the personal costs to the person suffering from unrelieved pain. There is a significant financial burden to the patient as well as economic costs to society as a whole.
- The costs of chronic pain to the Canadian economy have been estimated to be more than $6 billion a year in direct healthcare costs, and $37 billion per year in productivity costs related to job loss and sick days. This translates roughly into $2.1 billion and $13 billion respectively in Ontario. To put this value into perspective in relation to the healthcare costs of other disorders, it is as much as for cardiovascular disease or cancer, and twice as much as depression.
Challenges facing Patients
- Patients have difficulty receiving correct diagnosis and often go untreated or with pain that is not effectively managed.
- There are challenges with access to forms of treatment that have been shown to be effective in treating neuropathic pain – including pharmaceutical, surgical procedures, psychological counselling and physical therapy. Many treatments must be paid for out of pocket by the patient
- There are very few interdisciplinary pain clinics in Ontario, and patients face long waiting lists to access these clinicians with pain training. When patients have to access to treatment, they often have to pay out of pocket.
- There is poor awareness of the challenges facing those who live with chronic pain and they often face stigma.