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Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain refers to ongoing, sometimes disabling pain in the extremities or other areas of the body that lasts for three months or longer. There are many different conditions that can cause chronic pain. These include:

  • Neuropathic pain, which is usually a stabbing or burning pain arising from injury or a problem in the peripheral or central nervous system

  • Widespread pain disorders like fibromyalgia, which cause "all over" body pain

  • Pelvic pain, which may be associated with disorders of the bladder, uterus, ovaries, pelvic floor muscles, or nerves in the pelvis or lower back

  • Headaches, including migraines, which are the most likely type of headache that brings patients to see their doctor

  • Back pain, neck pain, and joint pain disorders, of which the causes may be very different, but the treatment approaches are often similar

  • Other diseases that cause pain such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)

  • Pediatric pain disorders, which are pain disorders specific to children

Chronic pain is reported more frequently by women than by men. Individuals experiencing chronic pain are at increased risk for psychological problems such as major depression.

Chronic pain is not the same as acute pain or recurrent acute pain. Acute pain is due to actual injury.  Its duration is short and its psychosocial consequences are minimal. A person's perception of acute pain and behavior following the onset of acute pain are normal for the reason why the injury occurred. Acute pain resolves as healing occurs. Acute pain is common, occurring for example with fractured bones, skin lacerations, sprains and other similar injuries. Recurrent, acute pain refers to episodic pain (pain that comes and goes) associated with chronic conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia or cluster migraine headaches.

Adapted from: Pain Resource Centre, 2011  

Information for Caregivers :


Associate Together Against Pain (UK)

Pain Management for Older Adults: a Self-Help Guide , 2008 – includes a chapter for caregiver.


Childhood Pain

Calgary Pediatric Complex Pain – Children and Adolescents  

Pediatric Chronic Pain Clinic, Stollery Children's Hospital


Calgary Chronic Pain Centre, Alberta Health Services  

Chronic Pain Lecture Series  - is available onsite or online

Jasper Chronic Pain Group  

Managing Chronic Pain: A patient handbook , Calgary Health Region – a 12-page pdf handbook that contains information and resources for persons affected by chronic pain and their caregivers. This handbook is also available in Arabic, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Multidisciplinary Pain Centre, University of Alberta  

Pain Clinic Locations, Canadian Pain Coalition


Calgary Headache Assessment and Management Program (CHAMP)  

Nova Scotia

Childhood Pain

Centre for Pediatric Pain Research: Science Helping Children

Pediatric Health Psychology Service, IWK Health Centre  -   offers a six-week cognitive-behavioural treatment group for children aged 8-12 years with recurrent abdominal pain and the parents


ACTION Atlantic: for people with chronic pain

Pain Clinic Locations, Nova Scotia, Canadian Pain Coalition

VON Canada

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