Arani Kulamurugan,1 Pranjan Gandhi,2 Markian Pahuta,3 Mohammad Zarrabian,4 Daipayan Guha,5

1Michael DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
2Michael DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
3Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
4Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
5Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.


Abstract: This paper examines the role of pain clinics in Canada, focusing on non-surgical interventions to manage cervical and lumbar degenerative pathologies. These pathologies have a substantial impact on health care and the economy. Since non-interventional management strategies are often insufficient, pain clinics can be effective in providing image-guided injections to reduce symptoms and rates of surgery. Given the challenges of access and long wait times for treatment, the expansion of pain clinics may be an interim solution to improve outcomes and alleviate the burden on Canadian healthcare.
Key Words: radiculopathy, myelopathy, back pain, neck pain, pain clinic.

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim MAINPRO-M2 Credits for this unaccredited educational program.

You can take quizzes without subscribing; however, your results will not be stored. Subscribers will have access to their quiz results for future reference.

1. Identifying the specific type of back pain guides the choice of treatment, enhancing patient outcomes.
2. Interventional strategies have demonstrated significant benefits when combined with traditional medical and physical therapies.
3. Axial pain, radiculopathy, neurogenic claudication and myelopathy have distinct symptoms and relief mechanisms, making accurate diagnosis critical.
4. Improving the distribution and accessibility of multidisciplinary pain management services will improve the outcomes for patients with chronic pain.
Differentiating Pain Syndromes: It is essential to distinguish among axial neck/back pain, radicular pain, neurogenic claudication and myelopathy to institute proper back pain management. Axial pain is worsened by physical activity, radicular pain is limb dominant, neurogenic claudication is exacerbated by prolonged standing and relieved by sitting, and myelopathy produces upper motor neuron findings in both upper and lower limbs.
Role of Pain Clinics: Offering a wide range of services, pain clinics are cost-effective and improve quality of life and functionality through interventional pain management, mental health support, and physical therapy.
Barriers to Accessing Care: Access to multidisciplinary pain treatment facilities in Canada is limited by long wait times and significant regional variability.
To have access to full article that these tools were developed for, please subscribe. The cost to subscribe is $80 USD per year and you will gain full access to all the premium content on, an educational portal, that hosts 1000s of clinical reviews, case studies, educational visual aids and more as well as within the mobile app.