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Information for patients

Pain, when it serves no useful purpose, is considered to be a disease in itself that requires specialized treatment. When a person suffers from ongoing pain, not only does the body hurt, but many aspects of life become affected and contribute to suffering. To address the multifaceted nature of pain, the MUHC - Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit (AEPMU) aims not only to relieve pain, but also to restore activity and improve quality of life, as well as reduce long-term use of health-care services. These objectives are met through the combined efforts of a multidisciplinary team of diverse pain specialists.

For further information about referral and treatments, please see Introduction and General information.

Due to the time-limited nature of our program the AEPMU can treat you only if you currently have a family physician, or other physician who could follow you regularly during therapy with us and after discharge from our program. Consequently, if you don’t have such a doctor, we cannot accept you for treatment at our Unit. After the AEPMU receives a consultation request from a physician using the form linked below, a brief questionnaire is mailed to the patient for completion along with an introductory letter and a pamphlet describing our unit. The questionnaire must be completed and returned to the Pain Management Unit before the referral can be processed.

Information sent to patients with notice of first appointment

After the completed pain questionnaire is received, a team of multidisciplinary professionals triages the referrals and determines the priority to be assigned to each case. Please note that since our services are not appropriate for all patients, some referrals may be refused. Patients accepted into our unit are notified of their first appointment and are given the following information:

Your appointment at the Pain Centre at the Montreal General Hospital [.pdf]
Votre rendez-vous au Centre de la douleur à l’Hôpital Général de Montréal [.pdf]

To help us help you, please bring the following to your first appointment:

  • a list of all medications you have ever used (or even tried) to date. If you have trouble remembering, you could ask your pharmacist who should have a record
  • all relevant test results and x-rays

After initial assessment at the first appointment, we establish a treatment plan on an individual basis for each patient. Typical multidisciplinary treatment at the Pain Management Unit is of 3-6 months' duration, although it can be longer or shorter, depending on the nature of the problem. During the patient's care at our Unit an effort is made to implement all reasonable and appropriate treatments at our disposal. Once the patient is stabilized on a pain treatment regimen, he or she is discharged from the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, and a summary letter with recommendations for continued care is sent to the referring doctor with copies to the patient's other doctors who may need this information. If the initial assessment reveals that the Pain Management Unit does not have the tools to treat the presenting problem, no further appointments are made and an explanatory letter is sent to the referring physician. This may occur if the patient has already undergone the same treatments elsewhere, or if the treatment required is not available at our Unit.


Please note:

  1. If you find it absolutely impossible to come to your appointment, call Gail Brathwaite, telephone 514-934-1934, extension 43476 to change it.
  2. In the event of an unforeseen situation, you must cancel your appointment least 48 hours prior to the appointment date.

Not showing up for your scheduled appointment and failing to inform us beforehand will lead to the cancellation of your referral to our Pain Management Unit.

Thank you for your cooperation
The MUHC - Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit Team