We hear the media frenzy of the so called opiate epidemic, which seems to me to be people buying to on the street and less people getting it actually prescribed to them. And certainly little to do with chronic pain patients. But we never hear about the pain epidemic. And the lack of pain management.
The fact doctors are less trained in pain than your local veterinarian. Maybe pain patients should go to the vet instead? Or how about pain clinics. How many get to even see one? How many years does it take to get a referral to one? I was diagnosed with migraine and FM when I was 20, had hypermobility syndrome already by then… and when to a pain clinic when I was 38. Tried to kill myself from pain when I was 32. That should tell you a little about the lack of pain management I had going on then. Hopefully the average is sooner than 18 years.
What sort of treatment do they even get there? Are they getting to see a pain psychologist, taking a course in pain, learning to meditate, learning the exercises they need to do, having their medications assessed, being put on medications to help them have a quality of life, having them discuss their work situation and what improvements or changes need to be made their, any physio or other procedures to help with their treatment?
If you take away opiates because your all riled up about it for no reason… what will you replace it with so that pain patient has the same quality of life. Understanding that if you decrease their quality of life substantially you run the risk they will have suicidal ideation and/or intent. Doctors should be aware pain alone is a suicide factor. If they are not, here I am to tell you. Pain. Alone. Is a. Suicide. Factor.
It certainly was for me. I am on tramadol slow release twice a day. Before I went to the pain clinic I lived a different life. It was an existence of crawling through the pain every day. It has a raw desperate edge to it all the time. I was always pushing through the pain, exceeding my pain limits. In survival mode. Get through it. Get home. I was a hermit. Nothing left in me to leave the house. To socialize or do anything. I had a great deal of suicidal ideation. Wished I would die of a stroke or heart attack. I’d get chest pains from triptans that were nasty but never went to the ER… as I rather thought if they killed me it would be a natural death and that was better than by my hand. Finally a suicide attempt.
I never want to be in that place again with no managed pain. It is a hell I still think of. No one should have to endure that. No one should be shamed for opiates being part of their pain management. Doctors should not be intimidated for using that tool when it is appropriate. And doctors should know pain matters. Our pain matters. Our lives matter. Our treatment matters.