Campaign Launched to Address Chronic Pain

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The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) launched a campaign in August called We’ve Got Your Back aimed to raise awareness with federal election candidates about chronic pain, the opioid crisis and how chiropractors can help.

“We are proud to be launching We’ve Got Your Back today to raise awareness amongst candidates around the costs associated with chronic pain,” began Alison Dantas, CEO of the CCA. “Without taking action now, costs will continue to rise and Canadians will continue to suffer.”

The annual cost of chronic pain is between $38.2 billion to $40.3 billion in healthcare and lost production. By 2030, it is estimated that the cost will reach $55 billion.

“In order for Canada to recover economically, chronic pain must be addressed. Each year, more than 4.7 million Canadians rely on a chiropractor to prevent and manage the burden of musculoskeletal pain and diseases. Chiropractors are an essential solution in ensuring Canadians can address chronic pain without opioids,” continued Dantas.

The Canadian Pain Task Force (CPTF), under Health Canada, has worked over the past three years to create An Action Plan for Pain in Canada. The report has found that the lack of access to non-opioid options to treat pain is one of several significant factors contributing to this crisis. Chiropractors are the spine, muscle, and nervous system experts, and are an essential solution to ensuring Canadians can address chronic pain without opioids.

“When we work together the barriers to accessing conservative care can be identified and removed”, noted Dr Steven Passmore, chiropractor and member of the CPTF’s External Advisory Panel.

Increasing access to pain treatment involves removing barriers. Among the CCA’s policy recommendations is addressing barriers to access among federal populations such as the armed forces and veterans. Studies have shown that musculoskeletal injuries among the military population are double that of the general Canadian population, and responsible for 42% of career-ending medical releases. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are only covered for a limited number of chiropractic treatments and must receive a physician’s preauthorization beforehand, often resulting in delays. “This past year we have again seen all the ways our brave women and men in uniform have served our country at home and abroad. They deserve our complete support in accessing timely treatment of pain”, shared Dantas.

“We have an action plan for pain in Canada, now we need the resources to implement it so that all Canadians can get equitable access to the evidence-informed care they need when they need it. The time is now for the government to invest in research on interprofessional approaches and multidisciplinary pain care pathways to support Canadians dealing with chronic pain,” concluded Dr Passmore.


Issue Background:

  • 2020 was the worst year for Opioid-related deaths in Canadian history.i

  • Musculoskeletal work-related disorders are the number one reason for lost-time work injury accounting for 40 per cent of all lost-time claims.ii

  • Each year, more than 11 million Canadians suffer from back, neck and joint pain – musculoskeletal conditions – and by 2031 this number is projected to grow to an alarming 15 million.iii

  • A recent Institute for Employment Studies survey found that more than half of the employees working remotely due to the pandemic reported a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints.iv

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is a national association representing the over 9,000 Doctors of Chiropractic from across Canada.

i Public Health Agency of Canada, Joint Statement from the Co-Chairs of the Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses – Latest Modelling Projections on Opioid-Related Deaths and National Data on the Overdose Crisis, June 23, 2021.


iii Canadian Institute of Health Research, IMHA Strategic Plan 2014-2018: Enhancing Musculoskeletal, Skin and Oral Health,

iiii Crawford JO et al., Musculoskeletal health in the workplace, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology,

iv Bevan S, Mason B, Bajorek Z, IES Working at Home Wellbeing Survey, Institute for Employment Studies (IES) | Apr 2020.

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