As a chronic pain sufferer myself, being diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back, along with bone disc degenerative disease, I have learned a lot about how chronic pain is treated, or I should say undertreated. It's a sad fact for a variety of reasons, that chronic pain goes grossly undertreated. Too many Americans are needlessly suffering in pain. After years and years of my pain going undertreated, I have learned a few things that I would like to share.
First of all, there's a stigma associated with patients seeking treatment for chronic pain. Physicians are hesitant about what kind of treatment is best. From physical therapy, biofeedback, muscle relaxers, steroids, anti-inflammatory, over the counter medications, to narcotic pain medication. Particular when using narcotic pain medication, it seems physicians do what's best in the interests for themselves, not what's in the best interest of the patient. For example in my case with my herniated disc in my back. My pain management physician advised me that I needed back surgery before I could receive any type of long term drug therapy. After several second opinions from other healthcare professionals, and talking to people that have had surgery with the same type of diagnosis, with no good results, surgery actually made their situation worse, or have added other problems, and now need follow up surgery and still in severe pain, or their pain and mobility now is even worse than before
Failed back surgery is very common, so surgery was not an option for me. The shameful thing about this whole scenario, physicians already know of this pattern.
So when my physician advised me that I needed back surgery, I thought like so many other physicians, that this physician needed patients that have had surgery already, or they needed patients to have surgery, for them to justify them writing scripts for strong narcotic pain medication. This is for several reasons, reasons such as government regulations, diversion, addiction, drug seekers, or just the physicians lack of knowledge how living with everyday pain really is.
Obviously if someone don't have a diagnosis of chronic pain, and other treatment is better suited, that should be the course of action. But on the other hand, if every other treatment has been tried, chronic pain sufferers should have every right to narcotic pain medicine. Before I found a physician who finally understood my pain felt like a drug addict, I felt like I was disbelieved by the medical community when I told them I was in pain. Pain sufferers are discriminated against tremendously. I am dedicated to informing as many as possible that people are truly suffering in pain needlessly, and dedicated to helping those who suffer.
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