Chronic pain sufferer to appeal for help from MLA

A Calgary woman is hoping a meeting with her MLA will raise awareness about the amount of chronic pain patients are suffering in Alberta.

According to Alberta Health Services, the Chronic Pain Centre in Calgary receives 225 to 250 referrals a month and physicians see around 80 new paients in the same amount of time.

Zara Pickel, a 25 year old woman who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, says it took over a dozen doctors before getting some answers.

“I really found myself fighting through the system to get diagnosed, to be recognized as a legitimate pain patient with an issue, so I am really trying to impress upon my MLA how hard it is for patients,” said Pickel.

She adds she understands the healthcare system is under a lot of pressure and nothing can be done right away, but she wants this recognized on a provincial level.

“Get notes from other MLA’s about what their constituents are feeling about this and just to raise awareness of the whole issue, that it’s a problem and it should really be at the front of our healthcare priorities in the next few years or in the next decade at least.”

Pickel says more young people like her are struggling with this disease.

“I had to drop out of Mount Royal University where I was really enjoying the bachelor of science program there. Nowadays I am more or less bedridden. I have been gaining some strength recently so I am down to a cane now. I still have a lot of issues with pain; my pain is about 8 out of 10 daily.”

Pickel wants people who are suffering from CRPS to know there is a support group that meets once a month at the Lakeview Community Centre. For more information, email

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