The Canadian STOP-PAIN project - Part 1: Who are the patients on the waitlists of multidisciplinary pain treatment facilities?

Can J Anaesth. 2010 Jun;57(6):539-48. doi: 10.1007/s12630-010-9305-5.


Purpose: The Canadian STOP-PAIN Project assessed the human and economic burden of chronic pain in individuals on waitlists of Multidisciplinary Pain Treatment Facilities (MPTF). This article presents the patients' bio-psycho-social profile.

Methods: A sample of 728 patients was recruited from waitlists of eight university-affiliated MPTFs across Canada. Subjects completed validated questionnaires to: 1) assess the characteristics and impact of their pain; and 2) evaluate their emotional functioning and quality of life (QoL). Follow-up questionnaires were completed by a subgroup of 271 patients three months later.

Results: Close to 2/3 of the participants reported severe pain (> or = 7/10) that interfered substantially with various aspects of their daily living and QoL. Severe or extremely severe levels of depression were common (50.0%) along with suicidal ideation (34.6%). Patients aged > 60 yr were twice as likely to experience severe pain (> or = 7/10) as their younger counterparts (P = 0.002). Patients with frequent sleep problems were more at risk of reporting severe pain (P < or = 0.003). Intense pain was also associated with a greater tendency to catastrophize (P < 0.0001) severe depressive symptoms (P = 0.003) and higher anger levels (P = 0.016). Small but statistically significant changes in pain intensity and emotional distress were observed over a three-month wait time (all P < 0.05).

Conclusion: This study highlights the severe impairment that patients experience waiting for treatment in MPTFs. Knowing that current facilities cannot meet the clinical demand, it is clear that effective prevention/treatment strategies are needed earlier in primary and secondary care settings to minimize suffering and chronicity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Clinics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain Management
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Waiting Lists*
  • Young Adult