Much Going On

There seems to be so much going on in the world of medicine and specifically, patients with chronic pain that may or may not be helped through our current medical system. I know two cases in point that I would like to discuss.

When a patient has a long history of living with chronic pain in varying degrees it seems as though the medical system should work. Specifically, if the case warrants the use of an adequate pain medication on an ongoing basis or (PRN) as needed then it should be used. Case in point, I have a friend that has several major medical issues and pain is one part of what comes out of this. I can assure you from personal knowledge that they are not a “drug seeker” only looking for adequate pain relief. Yet since they live some distance from me, I am not able to help even so their close friend is acting in the role of a patient advocate.

When a patient has medical records on top of medical records which indicate a serious issue and pain being one major symptom, it sometimes means that no matter how one feels, they have to be very assertive and direct to obtain the proper medications which they need and at the correct strength for their pain.

There is someone else that I’m familiar with and they have serious spinal issues and has found an Internist in their home town that does prescribe one of the Hydrocodone/acetaminophen combinations with instructions to take up to 6 tablets per day with 5mg of Hydrocodone in each pill. My understanding based on the case is the fact that this person is being treated with both pain medication along with Gabapentin for neuropathic pain that runs down one of their legs. I am pleased that they have met an Internist that will try and handle this person’s pain.

Something that I learned many years ago due to my own disability with chronic pain, it’s best to use what was described to me as a “clean medication” whereby it is only the opioid that is used and it does not have either acetaminophen or ibuprofen mixed with it. It has been well documented that long term use of these last two medications can cause not only bleeding in the GI track but there is evidences that with the Nsaid class of medications of which products like Ibuprofen or Naproxen and a number of others can have a negative effect on the cardiac system.

I just read a very good article from WebMD with the title “Chronic Pain: New Research, New Treatments.” The article is By Michael W. Smith, MD. The article can be found by going to; Dr. Smith interviews Scott M. Fishman, MD who is the president and chairman of the American Pain Foundation. If you can, I feel that it’s a good article for those of us that live in chronic pain.
I always feel it’s so important for patients to know that pain medications by themselves never completely takes the pain away, it only helps to take the edge off that in my personal opinion can mean a tremendous amount in our quality of life.

I have been hearing more and more that we as a nation do not have enough Board Certified Pain Management doctors coming through medical schools to handle the massive number of people that do in fact live in chronic pain. Pain management physicians are trained first in Anesthesiology and specialize in pain management. I have asked several different physicians along with a nurse that I know, and they have said there is very little that is taught in both our medical and nursing schools on pain. I do believe this will change but currently it goes back to the shortage of medical doctors that have the proper training in pain control. Dr. Fishman’s article also mentions the fact that we do not train up and coming medical people properly in pain care. would welcome any thoughts, suggestions, or personal experiences which you as our readers have encountered with your own pain management. Please feel free at any time to log onto our site and add these comments. Your fellow chronic pain patients would be most appreciative.

I would like to close with something that I heard Carol Burnett say about her daughter Carrie who passed away from lung cancer. When Carrie was in the hospital, a nurse asked Carol “why is Carrie always happy and smiling?” Carol answered by saying Carrie always says “Everyday I’m going to wake up and decide that I’m going to love my life.” Perhaps we as chronic pain patients could learn from this and even so each day is challenging we too can find within ourselves that we love our own lives.