Chronic pain is pain that lasts for a significant amount of time. It lasts for a minimum of three months, although it can, in many cases, last for years. The condition can dramatically reduce the quality of a person’s life, often impacting their ability to work or to participate in normal day-to-day activities. One in five Canadians is affected—amounting to more than seven million people across the country. According to one study, the estimated costs due to lost productivity and healthcare costs might be as high as $60 billion per year in Canada.
Let’s take a closer look at the condition.
Primary and Secondary Chronic Pain
Acute pain is defined as temporary in nature, usually resolving as the area of injury or another determined cause heals. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain is much more enduring. Sometimes, the cause of lasting pain may not easily be explained. The condition can be further sub-classified into chronic primary pain and chronic secondary pain.
Chronic primary pain is characterized by pain in any part of the body associated with significant emotional distress and/or functional disability that lasts or recurs for more than three months. The symptoms in these cases cannot be explained by another diagnosis. Chronic secondary pain can be diagnosed if the symptoms are associated with an original underlying condition, such as migraines.
Who Does it Impact Across the Country?
If you’re interested in healthcare training, you should know that not everyone in Canada is affected by chronic pain equally. National research has shown it to be more common in older people, women, Indigenous Peoples, veterans, people with drug addiction, and segments of the population affected by discrimination and social inequality.
The reason these Canadians are more affected than others is due to a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. For example, seniors are more likely to have a condition like diabetes, which can lead to chronic pain.
What You Should Expect in Helping Future Clients
Graduates of healthcare programs often land work in long-term care facilities, where they will soon find themselves supporting clients living with chronic pain caused by arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or one of many other possible conditions.
It’s important to remember that chronic pain can greatly impact a person’s mood, varying from frustration and irritability to long bouts of depression. The health care aide must understand that the client will feel quite different from one day to the next, depending on the severity of their symptoms. In caring for these clients, it’s important to therefore be patient, supportive, and compassionate. On some days, the best care will come in the form of moral support, simply listening to how the client feels and letting them vent. The moment you are able to offer some kind of assistance to someone suffering from chronic pain during your health care aide career could be the moment when you will realize just how rewarding your chosen career path can be.
Are you passionate about pursuing a career as a healthcare aide?