How to seek help from a health professional about your chronic pain.

It’s important to see your health care provider if you have new pain, your pain gets worse or your treatment isn't managing your pain.

Your health care provider may order specific examinations and tests to help determine the cause of the pain or refer you to specialists for further diagnosis or treatment.

Communicating with your health care provider

Good communication with your health care provider is vital to getting the help you need.

  • Use a pain diary to help you identify patterns in your daily life that have an impact on your pain. When you understand your personal pain triggers, you and your health care provider can deal with them more effectively.
  • Describe your pain using words like throbbing, stabbing, burning, aching, tingling, dull, pressing, numb or electric shock.
  • Rate your pain on a scale of zero to 10.
  • Make sure to tell your health care provider about any medicines or herbal supplements you take. The combination of medicines and supplements can make the pain medicine less effective or even cause more harm.
  • Bring a family member or friend along to medical visits to make sure you don’t miss any important information.

Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists focus on physical function and movement. They work with you to set goals to promote optimal mobility, manage activity limitation or rehabilitate an injury.

Physiotherapists work in private clinics, in hospitals or for home health agencies. Search for a physiotherapist in your area or talk to your health care provider.

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists work with you to help you live as independently as possible in everyday life – work, school, self-care, home and leisure. They assess and work with you to develop a plan to improve or restore your ability to participate in these day-to-day activities through:

  • Training and education
  • Getting aids and specialized equipment, such as a wheelchair
  • Assessing and modifying your home, school or work environments
  • Providing relaxation therapy

Occupational therapists work in private clinics, hospitals, residential care facilities, community care clinics or employment centres. Find an occupational therapist near you.

Psychologists

Living with pain goes beyond the physical -- it may affect you mentally and emotionally. Psychologists use cognitive-behavioural approaches to help you learn how to live life with chronic pain. Visit the B.C. Psychological Association to find a registered psychologist in B.C. (note: not all registered psychologists in B.C. are listed).

Find a list of Vancouver area counsellors specializing in chronic pain.

Acupuncturist

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine and can be used to reduce pain and treat certain health conditions. Acupuncturists use needles at specific points on the body to unblock energy flows through and around the body to restore balance. Each of the points relates to certain health problems or body functions. Speak with your health care provider for recommended acupuncturists.

Massage therapists

Massage therapy may help to reduce tension and pain, improve blood flow and encourage relaxation. Registered massage therapists (RMTs) work with specific illnesses, injuries and disabilities. Learn more about conditions RMTs treat and assist with.

Find a registered massage therapist in your area.

Pain clinics

Pain clinics come in many different forms and can involve a variety of health care professionals such as but, not limited to, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and pharmacists that provide assessment and management for pain.

Our pain clinic is located at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey. Our focus is to help ease suffering from chronic pain so that it will no longer be a barrier to daily functioning and quality of life.

Find a list of pain clinics and services in B.C.

Community services and programs

Visit the British Columbia Resource Guide to find valuable chronic pain services, programs, support groups and organizations in your neighbourhood.

Resources