1 in 5 adults suffer chronic pain: Survey

Accommodation and graduated return to work can keep workers productive
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/10/2009

For more than 20 years, Lynn Cooper has been living with chronic pain, having injured her back at the office. Despite returning to work as soon as possible, her pain never went away and she developed migraines and other neuropathic pain and, eventually, had to stop working altogether.

“I followed every direction. I was the best patient, I think, that you could ever ask for,” said Cooper, who lives in Kitchener, Ont., and is now the president of the Canadian Pain Coalition. “Most people, including me, we want to be working. There’s nothing more frightening than to have to make the decision that you can no longer stay at work.”

Chronic pain is a growing concern for employers, with about 18 per cent of Canadians suffering from chronic pain, resulting in reduced productivity and increased disability costs, according to the results of two surveys.