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The Ottawa Hospital and partners launch new online tool to support patients living with chronic pain

A pan-Canadian collaboration, the Power Over Pain Portal provides free resources to help manage chronic pain

OTTAWA – August 22, 2023 – The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) has partnered with other hospitals, academic institutions, community organizations, and people who live with chronic pain to create the Power Over Pain Portal, a first-in-Canada virtual chronic pain management portal. Funded by Health Canada, Power Over Pain offers free evidenced-based virtual resources to help youth and adults manage their chronic pain. The Portal has many resources from self-directed courses to one-on-one counseling with the goal of providing flexible and rapid access to pain management tools.

Power Over Pain is a long-awaited and very important online resource for people living with pain and their families”, said Lynn Cooper, Research and Education Director at the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance and person living with pain. “The Portal provides us with information and resources about pain and pain management that can help us to understand our pain, learn ways to help ourselves, and access supports so that we can live our best life with pain.”

One in five Canadians lives with chronic pain and access to this type of care continues to be a challenge in Canada. More than 50 per cent of people living with pain are referred to specialized programs with extended wait times. Access to care is further challenged when mental health and substance use health needs are present. Improving resources for chronic pain care is one of the top priorities identified by the Canadian Pain Task Force, a group that advises Health Canada on evidence and best practices for chronic pain management. 

“The Portal is one part of the puzzle in improving access to pain care in Canada. This resource gives users instant access to content and support they can start applying right away”, said Dr. Patricia Poulin, Psychologist and Associate Scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and co-lead of the adult portal. “We have started to see clinics use the Portal to support clients before and after appointments, or to augment care.”

Power Over Pain is designed with and for those with pain to ensure care is equitable and accessible”, said Vina Mohabir, lead of the 8-member youth advisory committee at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). “These resources are personalized and backed by science. Like a buffet, you can pick and choose which method or approach is best for you right now.”

The Portal is also being integrated with Wellness Together Canada, the federal platform to support mental health and substance use concerns. The goal is to create a one-stop shop for mental health, substance use and chronic pain resources.

The Power Over Pain Portal was developed in collaboration with clinicians and researchers from The Ottawa Hospital, SickKids, Women’s College Hospital, University of Calgary, Memorial University of Newfoundland, people living with pain, and community organizations. The Chronic Pain Network has made the Power Over Pain Portal a knowledge mobilization project.

The Power Over Pain Portal is now live and will continue to develop and evolve based on user feedback and new research.

“We know how difficult it can be to manage pain. When pain is not controlled, it can lead people to turn to other, harmful ways to manage their pain like higher-risk substance use. We are committed to providing people with the tools they need to effectively manage their health issue, including pain. With this funding, our government is taking another step to help people living with life-altering conditions. Canada is pleased to support organizations like the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute for their continued dedication towards providing rapid and early access to virtual resources for chronic pain, mental health and substance use support, through Power Over Pain Portal, so people can use them where and when they need it.” 

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
Funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. The views expressed may not represent those of Health Canada.


Interview opportunities:

Dr. Patricia Poulin
Clinical, Health, and Rehabilitation Psychologist, The Ottawa Hospital Pain Clinic

Dr. Yaad Shergill
Clinical Research Associate, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Chiropractor, One Elephant Integrative Health Team Inc. 

Lynn Cooper
Research and Education Director, Canadian Injured Workers Alliance, and person living with pain

Natalie Zur Nedden, PhD.
Clinical Research Associate, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Media Contact:
Rebecca Abelson