In today’s political climate it is darn right terrifying to be a patient with a chronic pain condition!
Struggles finding healthcare?
“Issues” over medications you KNOW work…
Being “offered” medication alternatives?
Or a “variation” in dosage?
The story goes on.
And don’t we know, when you live in Chronic Pain there’s simply not much fight left. If you have a strong care-provider in your corner who’s willing to fight this good fight, you are most truly blessed! But for many, it may seem easier to just let it go, and harshly, for more and more, to let it ALL go.
But there is hope…
The message that Chronic Pain is “real” and too, that evidence simply doesn’t support, or has become extremely twisted in respect to, the pain medication misuse and overdose “crisis” is getting out there!
It may be an uphill climb at the moment, but we are not alone, there are Doctors, researchers and organizations advocating, working hard to get the information (experience, research and statistics) into the right hands, out “into” the media and awakening the public and our legislators to the fact that for some, unfortunately (to put it mildly), Chronic Pain, from the mildly irritating to the nightmarishly severe and completely disabling, is real! And yes, pain medication really is needed and does work, is not only necessary but essential in many cases.
* “The media and others continue to cite rising deaths due to opioids without clarifying that a large percentage of the current deaths are related to illicit highly potent fentanyl and other synthetic opioids coming across our borders from China.” ~Canadian Journal of Pain
* “A Cochrane database review of long-term opioid management involving 4,893 patients found only “efficacy and addiction indicators” in only 0.27% The authors concluded that amongst patient populations with significant pain the use of strong opioids can lead to long-term pain relief with little chance for addiction or other adverse issues.
*”Recent evidence has demonstrated a very low risk of persistent opioid use after medical exposure to opioids following major elective surgery. In a study of almost 40,000 post-surgery patients, who had never used opiates, only 0.4% continued pain medication use 1 year (which could have very well have been for a chronic pain condition).
* “A study by the American College of Surgeons found that “opiate pain killers prescribed after severe injury do not lead to long term use.” Of roughly 7,000 high-trauma injury patients 49 percent filled 1 or more follow-up opioid prescriptions after their hospital discharge but “only 0.9% were still taking an opioid one year later.”
* Using the statistics from the 2015 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that only 0.12% of the population of the United States over the age of 12 years is addicted to prescription pain relievers.” They also found that of that a little over 68,000 patients surveyed, 36% had utilized prescription pain medication but that there was only a 4.7% misuse (and of these said they did so only to relieve pain).
*According to the Canadian Tobacco and Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey opioid use (for medical purposes) has dropped over the last few years and misuse has remained at 0.2%.
These are reassuring statistics. For those living in Chronic Pain and needing and/or dependent on pain medication we can take strength in the quantity of research that is being done and the results on the topic. We know that the pendulum has swung- only a few short years ago there was a call in the medical field to greater attendance to patient pain; now we exist in a climate of fear and “concern” over pain medication and restrictive practices regarding patient’s with pain, both factors deeply impacting those who live with Chronic Pain. But in time, as with all, “things” will balance out….
for those living in Chronic Pain, time is of the essence!
Two Canadian Physicians, in a January, 2017 article, have made several excellent recommendations regarding the future of pain management:
How we move forward from this point:
“We are not arguing that medical exposure to opioids never results in addiction but that the incidence is very low and when prescribed with appropriate precautions it is extremely rare.
Fear of addiction should not be the reason for restricting opioids to the many people with chronic pain who benefit and whose quality of life is enhanced by their use.
We acknowledge that the lack of education of physicians regarding pain assessment and management and the lack of access to appropriate non-pharmacological treatments continue to contribute to cases of overprescribing. We think the solution to this is not further regulation of physician prescribing but approaches to assure improved education of health care professionals regarding pain management and improved access to care for people with pain conditions.”
The American Chronic Pain Association (and the consortium of government representatives, universities, researches and medical field business representatives they have created) and their National Pain Strategy is an excellent starting place.
And in the meantime…
Let us take reassurance and find Hope (don’t we know, an essential coping skill, on a daily basis) in the good work being done on our behalf. Now Just Hang On!