Few notions are as troubling — terrifying even — as the thought of chronic pain.
For sufferers, chronic pain means just that: a hurt that never goes away, an unwanted, often ferocious companion to every activity that can be tamped down but never obliterated.
For an increasingly aging population, chronic pain feels like the dreaded inevitable trade-off for achieving sexagenarian, septuagenarian, octogenarian, even nonagenarian status, something more or less unthinkable a generation ago but increasingly common in our modern world.
Yet even much younger people are often hobbled by chronic pain.
The research on this subject is at once illuminating and depressing. It reveals that about 25 percent of Canadians suffer from chronic pain. Once we pass our 60s, this percentage jumps dramatically. Even working Canadians aged 18 to 45 across multiple industries report chronic pain.
According to Statistics Canada and the results from a 2007/2008 Canadian Community Health Survey, “about 1 in 10 Canadians aged 12 to 44 — 9 percent of males and 12 percent of females, an estimated 1.5 million people — experienced chronic pain.”
(Just to put that into some perspective, the amount of people reporting chronic pain in 2007/2008 — 1.5 million according to Statistics Canada — exceeds the estimated 2018 population of the entire province of Manitoba, at 1.352 million).
Statistics Canada continues: “The most common pain-related chronic conditions at ages 12 to 44 were back problems and migraine headaches. Chronic pain prevented at least a few activities in the majority of sufferers. It was associated with activity limitations and needing help with everyday tasks, and had work-related implications.
“Individuals with chronic pain were frequent users of health care services, and were less likely than people without chronic pain to respond positively on measures of well-being, including mood and anxiety disorders.”
Of all the possible takeaways from the above statement, perhaps the most disturbing is this: “Chronic pain prevented at least a few activities in the majority of sufferers.” In plain language, chronic pain prevents people from doing the things they love.
And we’re not talking about high-performance athletes here, but rather, workaday folks for whom simple tasks like gardening, bicycling, playing with children or grandchildren, even strolling the neighbourhood are suddenly off-limits or severely restricted.
And of course, big pharma often seems to be as much the problem as the solution, with the opioid crisis leading to horrendous documented levels of addiction and overdose dose while leaving legitimately needful users in a lurch as doctors dramatically cut back on prescription painkillers.
With more than 10,300 apparent opioid-related deaths occurring between January 2016 and September 2018, according to the Government of Canada, chronic pain sufferers can be forgiven for viewing drugs — even legally prescribed drugs — with trepidation.
That leaves the door open to other possible solutions and aids. (Link to second blog post here). And that’s where we hope to come in.
We are Back on Track Canada, makers of items made from Welltex, a functional fabric blending ancient Chinese healing knowledge with high-tech fabric innovation and one of the first therapeutic fabrics created through the fusion of ceramic minerals with fabric thread.
It all began with horses, but Back on Track’s restorative possibilities were soon obvious for humans (and dogs) too. Established in 2000 by a Swedish medical doctor, Welltex helps chronic pain sufferers lead improved lives through a suite of unique, affordable, and highly impactful products, from wrist, knee, and ankle braces to shirts, gloves and leggings.
While Back on Track hopes to sell stuff, we also want to be part of the conversation. Our customers are evangelists for our products and we care deeply about their needs and wants. So here we are, with this blog.
In the coming weeks and months, we will strive to offer insight, news, views, anecdotal information and robust discussion about chronic pain suffered by average Canadians. We hope to be a trusted forum where everyone who suffers from chronic pain can share and compare. We welcome your feedback.
In its report, Statistic Canada concludes: “Pain lasting for several months, or persisting after an injury has healed, is considered chronic. Chronic pain affects not only individuals, but also their families, the health care system, and society as a whole. It may lead to other health concerns such as eating problems, sleep disturbances and fatigue.
“Absences from school, work and social activities have been linked to chronic pain. People may lose or change jobs, and in more extreme cases, cannot work at all. Mental health may be compromised; chronic pain has been associated with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and suicide ideation and attempts.”
Talk about a powerful motivator for change and discussion. Thanks for reading.