Talking to your school about chronic pain

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boy talking to teacher

It is important to communicate with your school. Let them know you have pain, how it is being treated and how it could affect your schooling. You can do this through meetings with your teachers or professors, by letter or by email.

Do I need to tell my teachers, academic advisors or professors about my pain?

Yes, it's important to tell others about your medical condition if it's likely to affect your attendance or performance at school, college or university. Telling your school about your pain can help you at school for a number of reasons.

  • You may need to miss classes to go to appointments or rest when you are not feeling well. Your teachers or professors will need to know about any absences.
  • You may need to ask your teachers or professors to give you work that you can do at home so that you can keep up with coursework during your pain treatment. You may also need to adjust how much coursework you can do.
  • You may need to provide a letter or document from your healthcare team to verify that you have chronic pain. Talk to your doctor, nurse or psychologist if you need this type of document.

​Services that can help you

Schools and universities have dedicated staff to help people with medical problems and other special needs. Be sure to communicate with them before the start of the school year and regularly during the year to keep them updated about anything you need. You might consider putting these staff in touch with your teachers or professors or arranging to meet everyone together so they can all understand your health and school needs.

It may also be helpful to have an advocate who can help you balance your workload between different classes. For instance, if you’re still in school, a guidance counsellor can help with communication so you do not have to advocate for yourself with all your different teachers.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016