Chronic Pain During Pandemic

By on

Chronic Pain During Covid-19 Pandemic

Recent pandemic brought many public health challenges. Managing chronic pain patients has been one of these challenges. The affect of pandemic on chronic pain patients has been significant. Increased social isolation, not being able to exercise, being locked-up at home, unemployment, loss of healthcare coverage or access, loss of loved ones, growing concerns about pandemic may trigger flare up of chronic pain, depression and other comorbidities chronic pain patients suffer from. Vulnerable patients such as elderly, and those with chronic medical problems are among those sufferers. Access to healthcare has been limited for this vulnerable population during the pandemic; trying to prevent these patients exposure to Covid-19. Although telemedicine visits are now widely available for patients, treatment options are limited during these telemedicine visits. Elderly patient usually have difficult time using technology. Patients with low socioeconomic status and patients living in rural areas may not have access to technology. 

Pain physicians face the challenge of providing direct care to their chronic pain patients during this pandemic. Patients who needed interventions to manage their chronic pain for years are now limited to leave their home and asked to self manage and deal with the pain on their own. Some of these patients particularly elderly do not tolerate pain medications and may not be able to see their pain physician for interventions. Dealing with chronic pain can be devastating and affecting patient’s mental health and sleep, and daily activities eventually may cause overall deterioration of well being. All health care providers need to take extra precautions with their chronic pain patients, since suffering from daily chronic intense pain may lead suicide. 

These are the times we need to support each other, and support family and friends and neighbours dealign with chronic and acute pain and other healthcare problems. Even though we may not be able to visit them, or hug them, or kiss them, we could still call them and check on them and let them know that we are there to help and support. We need to be sensible and take practical approaches to help each other particularly those vulnerable patients. 

If you are suffering from chronic or acute pain, and have no access to healthcare, do not feel you are alone. Call someone and talk to them: a friend, a neighbour, family member or healthcare provider. There are many online support groups, hotlines, and most healthcare providers have online portals they can respond to you and give you directions about what to do. 

At Triangle Pain Clinic we continue to provide direct care in the office and provide telemedicine for those vulnerable patients not able to come to office. Please call us if you are suffering from chronic or acute pain. We are here to help. 

Here are some small tips to help chronic pain patients:

-Wake up at same time each morning, do not stay in bed

-Prepare a healthy breakfast

-Stretch those joints, stretch your back and neck, think about doing yoga classes on line

-Go for a morning walk, keep safe, practicing social distancing and use your mask

-Find some hobbies to do for your afternoon: swimming, biking, playing cards, reading,  creating art, cooking, knitting etc. Whatever that is, take it out off the closet and do it

-Consider adopting a pet: a dog, cat, turtle, bird, fish etc

-Create a project, something you always wanted to do, but never get to it. Set up some goals how to start and finish your project

-Plan healthy supper

-Spend time with family

-Call a family member or friend you have not seen or talked in a while

-Go to bed same time each evening. Do not use phone, iPad in bed. Stop watching TV while in bed. No reading in bed

-If you do not feel well, or you feel depressed, or you feel hurting yourself call someone: a friend, family member, neighbour, or your provider,  and talk about it. It is okey to talk about our emotions. 


Aysel Atli, MD

Be the first to write a comment.

Leave a Reply