Chronic pain among public safety personnel in Canada

Primary Investigator: Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton
CIPSRT Designations(s): Scientific Director
Publication Project Title: Chronic pain among public safety personnel in Canada

Public Safety Categories:

  • Career Fire and Rescue
  • Correctional Service of Canada
  • Dispatcher and Call Centre Operations
  • Municipal Police
  • Paramedics (ACP/PCP/CCP), Emergency Medical Services
  • Provincial Police
  • Provincial/Territorial Corrections
  • RCMP
  • Volunteer Fire and Rescue
REB Approval?: Yes
REB Approval Date: June 30, 2016
Study Data Collection Start Date: September 1, 2016
Study Data Collection End Date: March 31, 2017
Geographic Area(s) involved: Canada wide
Funding Sources: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: R. Nicholas Carleton’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through a New Investigator Award (FRN: 13666). Tracie O. Afifi’s research is supported by a CIHR New Investigator Award and Foundation Scheme Award. This research was funded in part by the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness through the Policy Development Contribution Program.
Study Phone: 306-337-2473
Study Email: anxiety.lab@uregina.ca
Synopsis:
Background: Chronic pain is highly prevalent in the general population and may be even higher among public safety personnel (PSP; e.g., correctional officers, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police). Comprehensive data on chronic pain among diverse Canadian PSP are relatively sparse. Aims: The current study was designed to provide initial estimates of chronic pain frequency and severity among Canadian PSP. Methods: Estimates of chronic pain frequency and severity (i.e., intensity and duration) at different bodily locations were derived from self-reported data collected through an online survey. Participants included 5093 PSP (32.5% women) grouped into six categories (i.e., call center operators/dispatchers, correctional officers, firefighters, municipal/provincial police, paramedics, Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP]). Results: Substantial proportions of participants reported chronic pain, with estimates ranging from 35.3% to 45.4% across the diverse PSP categories. Across PSP categories, chronic lower back pain was the most prevalent. For some pain locations, firefighters and municipal/provincial police reported lower prevalence, but paramedics reported lower intensity, and duration, than some other PSP groups. Over 50% of RCMP and paramedics reporting chronic pain indicated that the pain was associated with an injury related to active duty. Conclusions: Discrepancies emerged across PSP members with respect to prevalence, location, and severity. The current data suggest that additional resources and research are necessary to mitigate the development and maintenance of distressing or disabling chronic pain for Canadian PSP.
Additional Keywords: Chronic Pain, Public Safety Personnel
Status: Complete
Completion Date: December 18, 2017
Results:
Results: Substantial proportions of participants reported chronic pain, with estimates ranging from 35.3% to 45.4% across the diverse PSP categories. Across PSP categories, chronic lower back pain was the most prevalent. For some pain locations, firefighters and municipal/provincial police reported lower prevalence, but paramedics reported lower intensity, and duration, than some other PSP groups. Over 50% of RCMP and paramedics reporting chronic pain indicated that the pain was associated with an injury related to active duty.