COVID-19 news and resources for people living with pain

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.
    • 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 supportline@painbc.ca.
  • 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.
  • LivePlanBeLivePlanBe 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 activitiesmindfulness and breathing strategies, and more. 
  • PainWaves Podcast: We recently published two podcast episodes on COVID-19 and pain:
    • 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. Listen now.
    • How COVID-19 and physical distancing are impacting people with pain. In this lived experience episode, we speak to five people living with pain from across Canada about how COVID-19 and the associated restrictions are impacting their ability to manage pain, well-being and other aspects of daily life. Listen now.

  • Free webinar on anxiety and pain: Watch this webinar recording on Coping with anxiety and pain during COVID-19. Psychologist Dr. Angie Ji discusses the relationship between anxiety and pain and shares several coping strategies people in pain can utilize to manage anxiety, and in turn pain, during this time of uncertainty. 

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
  • Rise Above Pain is offering online consultations with their interdisciplinary pain team. Find out more.
  • Solis Integrative Health is offering online or telephone appointments for people with pain looking to connect with practitioners from a variety of disciplines including acupuncture/Chinese Medicine, kinesiology, physiotherapy, and Indigenous Medicine. 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)

Virtual education and exercise classes for people in pain

In response to physical distancing efforts, the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic is offering free online education and exercise classes on a range of topics, including pain education, pain self-management and better sleep. All classes are offered live to allow participants to engage with instructors and classmates. Find out more.

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.

Financial supports during COVID-19

  • 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.
  • BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Program: The BC Government and BC Housing are offering a temporary three-month supplement (for April, May and June) towards rent payments for low- and moderate-income renters impacted by COVID-19. Payments are made directly to the landlords of eligible households. The program provides $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents. Find out more.

Stay connected 

  • Connect with others in pain on the free, anonymous LivePlanBe forum
  • Connect with us on Facebook
  • Connect with us on Twitter or join the broader Twitter conversation using the #COVIDpain hashtag 
Are there other helpful COVID-19 resources for people in pain that aren't mentioned here? Email us at communications@painbc.ca.