SUDBURY, ON –  Chronic pain sufferers in Greater Sudbury now have more options for care, as HSN’s new Integrated Chronic Pain Program (ICPP) is officially open. The program, which operates out of the Sudbury Outpatient Centre on Regent Street, will help patients through an integrated and interdisciplinary approach lead by a team of health care specialists to treat the complex condition of chronic pain. 

“Most of our patients suffer from pain that has not been successfully managed with conventional treatments,” according to Dr. James Callaghan, Medical Lead for the Integrated Chronic Pain Program.” Chronic pain is pain that persists beyond the expected duration of normal healing, and like other chronic diseases, it can cause distress that can be physical, psychological, and social in nature, and can limit someone’s daily functions. Dr. Callaghan says, “Those who suffer with chronic pain are also at an increased risk of developing mental illness and substance abuse problems which is why this program is so important.”

The Program includes a gym and several treatment rooms to deal with the physical aspects of chronic pain. But patients will also have access to physicians, nurses, an occupational therapist, physiotherapists, a pharmacist, a recreational therapist, psychological associates, and social workers. 

Melissa Moore, Clinical Lead for the ICPP says, “It’s like all the pieces have finally come together.” Moore says treating patients with chronic pain requires a team approach. “With this integrated approach, people will come here and meet with an entire team of clinicians who will develop a personalized care plan for the patient, which empowers them with education and techniques to self-manage their pain.”

By offering this service and empowering the patient with the skills they need to cope with their conditions, Moore adds this should lead to fewer visits to the Emergency Department for those suffering from chronic pain. 

The clinic has been a blessing for Sudbury’s Dan Newell, who is constantly in pain due to a number of previous surgeries and injuries. Newell says his chronic pain took away his ability to golf and swim recreationally. However, after a few visits to the pain clinic, he’s been able to be more active. “Three times a week, I’ll go out for a walk. I’ll take my time, and try to go for a mile,” adds Newell. “It’s a long time since I’ve been able to do that.” Education on how patients can help themselves is an important component of the treatment process and Newell credits his time spent in a classroom with other chronic pain patients for his progress. 

The Integrated Chronic Pain Program was established with funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. As this program progresses, there will be a focus on offering treatment to patients across Northeastern Ontario through numerous partnerships and with the help of telemedicine. Patients who wish to visit the clinic require a referral from their family doctor or nurse practitioner.