Alberta Health Services is running a free chronic pain self-management program called Better Choices, Better Help (BCBH) throughout the summer. 

Albertans 18+ living with chronic pain and their support person can self refer themselves to attend. It is not necessary to go through a healthcare provider. 

The sessions will run once a week for two and a half hours, so there is lots of time to learn about pain management and chat with others with similar chronic issues. 

The goal is for participants to learn skills such as techniques to manage their symptoms, methods for dealing with difficult emotions and more. 

“One of the important things that participants learn is that it’s a very interactive program, so they learn from others who can relate to the challenges that they are facing. They are able to give back to others by sharing some of their lived experiences as well, '' said Alicia Brown, health promotion facilitator and BCBH coordinator. 

Many businesses in Fort Saskatchewan aim to help people with chronic pain gain some relief and achieve better mobility. Some options available in the city include massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors and holistic healers.   

“I have had a lot of success getting clients off narcotics by coming for a massage regularly,” stated Keltie Elder, registered massage therapist and owner of Back To Alignment.

According to Elder, she sees many people coming in with chronic issues regarding low back and neck pain. She believes this is due to more people working at home because of COVID. 

The Government of Canada reports that approximately 8 million Canadians currently live with chronic pain. More marginalised groups of society are more likely to be affected by these conditions. 

“A lot of people don’t have either the awareness or access to different sorts of options. So, a lot of the time, the only option that is available is going to your doctor and getting medication, but, unfortunately, that is not enough," explained Brenna Bouchard, owner of Fort Saskatchewan Acupuncture.

"There have also been some cuts recently to people's access to things like acupuncture, massage, physiotherapy [and] chiro. I do think there is more to be done with that.”

The program will be done through the software Zoom.us, and people are asked to have a working computer to attend.

The first session of this BCBH program begins in June. To register, you can call 825-404-7460 and press 3.