COVID-19 news and resources for people living with pain
March 19, 2020
The growing concern over the community transmission of COVID-19 can be overwhelming, but please know that you're not alone with pain. During this time, Pain BC is committed to continuing to do what we’ve always done: working towards a future where no one is alone with pain.
Below you can find a list of news, information and resources specifically for people in pain that can be helpful during this time. Please note that this list will be updated regularly as more information and resources become available. Please check back regularly.
General COVID resources
If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, visit Healthlink BC or call 811
If you're a senior who needs practical help to stay at home during COVID-19, such as someone to pick up groceries for you, call 211 or visit BC211
To find the best source of COVID-19 health information in BC, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website
To read daily COVID-19 updates from the Province of British Columbia, click here .
COVID-19 resources for people with pain
Pain BC supports and resources
Free live-stream events for people in pain: Pain BC has launched a new series of free @ Home live-stream events to provide people living with persistent pain with accessible and safe options for care, movement, empowerment and connection during COVID-19. Both @ Home offerings are delivered live through Zoom and are available to all Canadians living with persistent pain. Sessions are also simultaneously live-streamed on our Facebook page and recordings will be available afterwards on our YouTube channel .
Gentle Movement @ Home sessions provide guided movement and relaxation for people living with pain from the comfort of their homes. Sessions are led by physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals and are designed to help people with persistent pain learn to feel safe to move again. Find out more
Mindful Hand Drumming @ Home sessions provide a safe and fun way for our community of people in pain to connect and reduce stress through mindful hand drumming sessions. Sessions are led by Alexandra Jai, a drumming and yoga teacher at Rhythm Bliss , and no drum or musical experience are required to participate. Find out more
Pain Support Line: We are committed to continuing to support our community during this unprecedented time. Our Pain Support Line remains open and can be reached by calling 1-844-880-PAIN (toll-free) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Coaching for Health: As a telephone-based service, our Coaching for Health program is not impacted by social distancing measures and is continuing to operate as usual.
Pain Support and Wellness Groups: In order to do our part to slow community transmission of COVID-19, we are temporarily suspending our in-person Pain Support and Wellness Groups throughout the province. We recognize this disruption will impact anyone who has benefited from attending the in-person groups and are working to quickly establish the groups online so we can continue to provide connection, hope and education to our community. We expect our online groups to be available in April. Please stay tuned for updates about how to join an online group. To make our online meetings as accessible as possible, we will include a call-in option for people unable to connect via the internet.
LivePlanBe: LivePlanBe is our free, online education and self-management resource for people with pain. It's a great place to find ideas for managing anxiety , ideas for social-distancing-friendly paced activities , mindfulness and breathing strategies , and more.
PainWaves Podcast: Listen to this episode of the podcast called Catastrophizing: How it relates to pain and the current coronavirus pandemic. We talk to Dr. Bronnie Lennox Thompson, a world-renowned pain educator and researcher about what catastrophizing is, how it relates to pain and the current coronavirus pandemic, and tips for how people in pain can manage catastrophic thoughts and take care of themselves during this public health emergency.
Virtual care from pain clinics and related services
The ChangePain clinic is offering video Group Medical Visits (GMV) for people living with pain during COVID-19. These group appointments for patients are physician-led and are covered by MSP for BC residents who have a valid BC CareCard Number. Find out more
The Canadian Pain & Regenerative Institute is currently offering the following virtual services to people living with pain: MSP-covered consults and follow-ups by anaesthesiology; private psychology; private physiotherapy; primary care sports medicine and physiatry physicians (referral needed); and MSP-covered group medical visits (referral needed). Find out more
The UBC Pharmacists Clinic has transitioned to virtual services and is able to provide support to people in pain who are on complex drug therapies and need extra time with a pharmacist. Its services are available for free and can be accessed by phone or secure videoconference. People with chronic pain who would like to request an appointment with a pharmacist can do so through this secure email link or by calling 604-827-2584.
New pharmacy prescribing rules
BC pharmacists can now provide medication refills to people in pain, including opioid medications, without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. This measure intends to prevent people from needing to visit overcrowded medical clinics and promotes safe social distancing, and will also free up medical professionals to treat urgent COVID-19 related cases. Please note that your doctor or pharmacist may not be aware of these recent changes and you may need to inform them. Read more
Dedicated grocery shopping hours
A number of major grocery stores are offering dedicated shopping hours for people in need of assistance or special consideration, including seniors, people with disabilities and anyone with complex health conditions. Stores are offering items for the same price both in-person and online and many of the listed stores have waived fees associated with online ordering. Stores include:
Shoppers Drug Mart (dedicated first opening hour - check with local store)
Superstore (dedicated hour - check with local store)
No Frills (dedicated hour - check with local store)
Your Independent Grocer (dedicated first opening hour - check with local store)
Walmart (dedicated first opening hour from 8:00-9:00am daily)
London Drugs (dedicated first opening hour from 8:00-9:00am Monday through Friday)
Save on Foods (dedicated first opening hour from 7:00-8:00am daily)
Costco (check with local store)
Changes to BC Transit service structure
For people with pain living outside of the Greater Vancouver region who must travel during the social distancing period, BC Transit is waiving bus fares for the next 30 days and enabling back door entry for most busses as a means of practicing safe distancing between passengers and bus drivers. Read more
Managing COVID-19 stress, anxiety and depression
The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has put together a list of tips and resources that can help with managing stress, anxiety and/or depression during this challenging time. Read more
Health Canada resources
Health Canada has issued temporary exemptions to maintain access for people with pain who are currently taking opioid medications. The exemption enables Canadian pharmacists to extend or refill opioid medications without a renewed prescription, transfer opioid prescriptions to other pharmacists as needed and deliver opioid medications to people in pain who are self-isolating at home. These exemptions are in addition to the recent regulatory changes announced by the College of Pharmacists of BC (see above). Please note that your pharmacist may not yet be aware of these changes and you may need to share this information with them. Read the full exemption notice
Health Canada finds no scientific evidence that establishes a link between ibuprofen, naproxen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone currently taking these medications to manage chronic illness should not stop taking them before speaking to a health care professional. Read more
Health Canada has created a free support app that will provide the latest updates and trusted resources on COVID-19. The app also has a section where you can self-assess your symptoms if you begin feeling ill. Read more
Support for kids and teens living with pain and their families
Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) has put together a list of resources and apps that can help kids, teens and their families manage pain and well-being during this period of social distancing. Read more
Support for caregivers
Family Caregivers of BC continues to offer support and resources for caregivers through their toll-free Caregiver Support Line . Call 1-877-520-3267 Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 4:00pm.
Resources for people who use drugs
The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition has gathered resources and guidance on best practices for people who use drugs during COVID. Read more.
BC government announces temporary additional supports for people receiving income and/or disability assistance
People with pain who receive income and disability assistance will receive an additional $300 supplement for the months of April, May and June as additional financial support during COVID-19. No application is required and the benefit will be applied beginning April 22, 2020. Low-income seniors who receive the B.C. Senior's Supplement, and people who receive income or disability assistance and live in a special care facility, will also receive the additional benefit. Read more