New Online Chronic Pain Management Tool Helps Support Patient Care and Improve Health Outcomes

November 20, 2023

To support Ontarians living with chronic pain while they wait to receive care or enhance the care they’re already receiving from health care professionals like chiropractors, a team of researchers – which includes Dr. Yaad Shergill, OCA member and chiropractor – at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) launched the Power Over Pain Portal: A first-in-Canada virtual chronic pain management tool.

“In 2016, our research team conducted a study that looked at the priorities of people living with chronic pain,” says Dr. Shergill, who is also a clinical research associate and program manager at TOH. “We found that there are people living with pain who’ve been waiting for quite some time before they’re seen by tertiary or primary care, requesting access to and co-ordination of chronic pain care. This fueled an important question that looked at what patients were doing while they’re waiting to receive care. This is where the Portal came in to play.”

Today, one in five Canadians live with chronic pain and more than 50 per cent of those who have been referred to specialized treatment face long wait times.

Launched in December 2022, the Power Over Pain Portal is open to adults and youth suffering from chronic pain and was developed by TOH in partnership with other hospitals, academic institutions, community organizations and people living with chronic pain. It’s one part of improving access to pain care in Canada and is already being used to enhance patient care before and after appointments.

How the Portal can enhance a patient’s care plan

The Power Over Pain Portal features two streams: A library of resources to help patients with chronic pain self-manage their symptoms, including pain education, mindfulness, mood, movement, nutrition, sleep, and stress-related resources. The other is a self-assessment tool, which allows patients to create an account and track their symptoms.

“Both of these resources are beneficial in practice for chiropractors and all other health care professionals providing care to patients living with chronic pain,” says Dr. Shergill. “As a clinician, I can direct my patients to this centralized hub of resources on the Portal and follow-up on their learning outcomes at their next visit. I can also direct them to the self-assessment feature, which can help me and my patient track their progress.”

Like in mental health, chronic pain involves a stepped-care continuum, or framework, where some elements of care can be provided quickly and openly to patients. This includes articles, workshops, courses, podcast and videos that don’t require a visit to a health care professional. Most of these resources are available on the Portal and can be integrated into practice, allowing the health care professional to focus on providing quality, higher level of patient care.

Screenshot of the Portal’s main landing page.
Screenshot of the ‘Adult Portal’ homepage.

“It’s important to know that the Portal does not replace the health care professional but instead can complement the care you’re already providing to your patients,” says Dr. Shergill. “It’s a one-stop shop for self-management resources you can refer your patients to. You may also want to use the Portal’s account feature and self-assessments to have your patients track their progress through a standardized and validated measure.”

The Power Over Pain Portal is funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. All available resources have been reviewed and vetted by people living with chronic pain, informed by the Portal’s Lived Experience Advisory Community.

Want to get involved?

As a practising chiropractor, there are several ways to get involved in this work. Use the Portal’s Communication Toolkit to inform your patients about the portal. Or, if you’re interested in delivering a workshop on a pain-related topic that’s related to self-management, contact Dr. Shergill at for more information and criteria. Check out upcoming talks in October here.

Dr. Yaad Shergill is a 2011 CMCC graduate, 2016 clinical sciences residency graduate, 2022 Masters of Health Research Methodology from McMaster University, and currently co-owns and practices at One Elephant Integrative Health Clinic. She’s also a clinical research associate/program manager at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and teaches at Seneca College in the School Behavioural Sciences.