Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)
2021 – 2023 Funded Project
We work with individuals who live with chronic pain. Together we are co-designing a physical activity and pain management program that will be available in community settings. One in five people in Saskatchewan live with chronic pain. A variety of approaches are recommended to manage pain, including improving sleep quality, doing relaxation activities, participating in regular physical activity, or treatment with health care providers trained in pain management. Chronic pain is still most often managed using medications. Some people rely on treatments like opioids. The downside of opioid use is that over time individuals need higher and higher doses to have the same effect. Other risks are that individuals can develop dependence or addiction. When pain interferes with people’s abilities to perform everyday activities, increased use and misuse of opioids can occur. Most people find other useful strategies to help them manage their pain instead of, or in addition to, opioids.
Pain Management Strategies
Physical activity is recommended as one of the most effective evidence-based pain management strategies. Although regular physical activity can promote better chronic pain management, most adults living with chronic pain are inactive. Pain-specific physical activity programs are needed in Saskatchewan. These programs should include education on chronic pain and physical activity to help people develop the fundamental skills needed to be physically active for life. Some skills that support being physically active include learning how to set appropriate physical activity goals and to overcome barriers to physical activity more effectively.
After our new program is co-designed, we will ask 10 adults living with moderate to severe chronic pain to participate in the program. We will ask these people to provide feedback on how we can improve different components of the program and their experiences. We will make appropriate adjustments to the program, then invite another 70 adults living with moderate to severe chronic pain to take part in it. These adults will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Half will be invited to participate in the physical activity program right away. While the other half will be assigned to be on a waitlist. After the 35 participants complete the program, we will compare them to the individuals who were on the waitlist on key measurable study outcomes.