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I’ve wanted to write about the politics of pain for a while. As a sufferer of chronic pain, I find myself in a constant struggle with doctors and pharmacists who think they know what and how much pain meds I require. Even more difficult is the fight I have with myself on taking the meds. I’m stubborn and independent and I hate that I have to rely on something external to myself to get through the day. In that way I have internalized a core tenant of the War on Drugs: drugs are a crutch that people use to escape their lives. I'm not talking about heroine and cocaine, I’m talking about prescriptions (not just opiates) and medical marijuana.

Anyone who deals with chronic pain will tell you that there comes a point at which you just don’t want to hurt anymore. You deal with it day in and day out, some days better than others. The strength it takes someone in chronic pain to just get through an average day is astounding. The choice often comes down to whether I want to be able to think or be relieved of the pain. I take a host of medications to address the damage done to my nerves by diabetes: antidepressants, anticonvulsants, analgesics, and when I’m lucky opiates. I say lucky because I love me a good opiate. When I take them I know I’ll stop hurting. In fact I had a nice little Vicodin habit going on for a few years, but then my doctor suggested medical marijuana.

I had never tried marijuana before, and I was 34 when I first did. When I got my prescription for medical marijuana, I was so happy I cried. In addition to good old fashioned smoking, there are tinctures and oils that work like magic on my nerves, alleviating the pain in ways I hadn’t had in years. I was even able to move off of the Vicodin, for which my liver is eternally grateful. Pot helps in other ways as well. I have a pretty good case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD. I can be revved for days, feeling edgy and out of control, or I can smoke a bowl and it goes away. For me, weed is an important part of improving my quality of life. That said, I find myself fighting it with self-talk like “It’s a crutch” and “I don't want to get addicted.” But you see, I kind of am addicted in the way that I’m addicted to all my other medications. When a diabetic needs insulin, do we say that she is addicted to it? Of course not, but marijuana and pain medications in general are always greeted with the caveat of addiction.

I’m tired of running a gauntlet for pain and anxiety medications because there is so much fear that I will become addicted and “abuse” them. If by abuse them, you mean take them so I don’t go crazy from the pain or anxiety, then yah. I’ve been asked if I could have all the pain go away in exchange for giving up the meds, would I. The answer is yes. Okay maybe. Okay fine, I admit I like being stoned, but I would give that up to be pain free, to be able to walk a block without pain from the middle of my back to the soles of my feet, to be able to write without getting cramps and shooting pains in my hands.

In all this there is one thing I want everyone to remember about medical marijuana and opiates: When you take these drugs for pain management, you aren’t getting high and you're not an addict; you’re using them for their intended purpose, to feel better.

Originally posted to Bradana on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by KosAbility.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a fine line. (5+ / 0-)

    I have a wife and a mother-in-law who are doctors, and they are confident that they can tell the difference between a "drug seeker" and someone who genuinely needs the medications. Myself, I'm not so sure. But one thing I do know - if you want pain meds, they are not the doctors to see.

    My own feeling is that it is no one's business except the individual how they choose to deal with their problems, be they physical or mental. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Personally I don't even take the pain medications doctors and dentists give me, worried that I might like them. I've seen plenty of people destroy their lives with these drugs, had several acquaintances die, and don't want to go down that path. A couple of ibuprofen are good enough.

    But who am I to judge? I take a handful of pills every day, because I'd die without them. Is that addiction? Might be nice if they had pleasant mental effects, too, instead of just enabling me to breathe. Some people's pain, physical or mental, is crippling. Why shouldn't they be able to take anything that makes them feel better?

    But that fine line has been crossed when the drugs interfere with taking care of your family, or affect your judgement so you do stupid shit that hurts others. And doctors can be held responsible for giving them to you, so that makes it tough for them, too.

    This is not a subject with easy answers.

  •  I am considering moving to a weed friendly (10+ / 0-)

    state for the reasons you cite;  I have a literal symphony of old injuries and neuropathies along with gout and RA.  Not a good way to spend a day but as you say, you learn to balance being conscious with not hurting.

    Sometimes I have a problem expressing myself or what i think I think and what I type are two entirely different things.  I have about a dozen different meds.  I just took my last installment of 5 meds which will make the next six hours bearable.   Then it is time for my next slug of pharm cocktail

  •  It seems to me that doctor's priorities (7+ / 0-)

    with regards to pain medications and chronic suffers are out of balance.

    Opiates can be damaging to a persons' life if their use gets out of control but the science shows that chronic pain sufferers aren't prone to abusing their medications. But doctors are far more concerned about addiction than they are quality of life for these patients.

    Its strange too that they don't seem to consider the alternative damage. I've had fibromyalgia for eleven years and when I don't have adequate treatment (which for me is extremely complicated since I'm allergic to the medications approved for Fibro treatment, and I have bipolar so taking antidepressants is an issue for me) I lean in to taking Tylenol. There are days I'll try anything to alleviate the pain. But the amount of Tylenol I have to take to even start to TOUCH the pain is dangerous, especially over a long period of time. Whereas 2 Norco (which is Vicodin with a reduced acetaminophen content) will alleviate some of the pain and make it more manageable. But I can't get an RX for that. It's not the 'gold standard' for Fibromyalgia care.

    It's gotten to where unless you have an acute injury that means a temporary round of painkillers its very hard to get any kind of treatment.

    Ironically I live in a medical marijuana state but Kaiser has told me point blank that if I use marijuana for pain relief or to ease my insomnia, they'll cut off any other treatment I'm receiving for several of my medical conditions.

    The nation is burning but we won't look up as long as the fiddle plays.

    by Miang on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:59:53 PM PDT

    •  That's awful! You're right about the medical es... (6+ / 0-)

      That's awful! You're right about the medical establishment not considering what not treating pain may cause. And they often gloss over side effects to use a less addictive substitute.

      The standard treatment for neuropathy is gabapentin, which is good for the pain, but makes me dizzy, sleepy and has seriously messed up my balance. On the other hand, a small dose of Rick Simpson Oil will completely take it away, to the point where I don't realize it's time to take the gabapentin. All that for a slight high, more like a relaxed feeling that takes two antidepressants and a high dose of gabapentin. I stay on the gabapentin because I honestly need both to control the pain.

      •  I quit taking Gabapentin nearly 4 years (3+ / 0-)

        ago due to those side effects.  I couldn't drive, I was dizzy and sleeping  all the time.  I also had neck surgery and lived in the country, so I was stuck.  As soon as I was able to lose the neck brace, I quit taking the gabapentin.  I had to get to physical therapy somehow.  My family members lived 20-30 miles away, and my friends had families to take care of, and work of their own to do.  I couldn't afford a cab, so I made due with what I could.    

         It seems to have permanently damaged my brain as I'm often still in a fog even without taking anything.  My doctor will not give out anything stronger than Naproxen Sodium, So I just buy the over the counter version and take more than I should at times when I'm really hurting.  Most of the time I try not to take anything at all if I can.  Pain Meds lose their effectiveness with prolonged use.  Tylenol, Tramadol, Vicodin, Ibuprofen, and Oxycodone no longer work for me at all.  Hydrocodone has a limited effect and since my DR won't prescribe any opiates any more including the tramadol, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I do live in WA state so if I do decide to try marijuana, I know it's available, though as far as I can tell, not in my part of the state(eastern conservative side).

    •  Case in point. (6+ / 0-)

      Most doctors consider fibromyalgia to be a psychosomatic ailment, not a "real" disease (although they may not say it to your face), and so will not give you the medication you need to feel better.

      But who cares what the source of the pain is? Why not just give you the pills that help you to function? Who does it hurt?

      •  Sure, everyone's got pain. If we are all feelin... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sjburnman, ypochris

        Sure, everyone's got pain. If we are all feeling better and more relaxed then we'd be a country of couch-locked lazy loafers and we wouldn't be the best anymore.


      •  My new doctor did tell me this to my face (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Thankfully I have arthritis, hip dysplasia, and a host of other purely physical problems that can't be argued with. And when he can feel the back spasms (like this morning), I at least get a refill on my Ultram (didn't ask for anything stronger) and a referral to PT. (Yay!)

        “Nobody made a bigger mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” – Edmund Burke
        I do fiberwork commissions now that I'm settled. Email or DM if you are interested!

        by LoreleiHI on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:04:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  hie thee to an attorney (4+ / 0-)
      Ironically I live in a medical marijuana state but Kaiser has told me point blank that if I use marijuana for pain relief or to ease my insomnia, they'll cut off any other treatment I'm receiving for several of my medical conditions.
      Were I thee, I would consult an attorney.

      I'm not sure that's within Kaiser's rights to do that.

      Know what your rights are. If you can't afford a lawyer on your own, contact your local chapter of the Legal Aid Society.

      Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer myself, nor do I play one on TV.

      Good luck!


      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:17:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This really fucks with my head: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      art ah zen, worldlotus

      "Ironically I live in a medical marijuana state but Kaiser has told me point blank that if I use marijuana for pain relief or to ease my insomnia, they'll cut off any other treatment I'm receiving for several of my medical conditions."
        I know so many people who probably would not be here today, but for MMJ. Which got them off deadly prescriptions with horrible side effects and suicidal thoughts, and back to a stable, pain-minimized, functional lifestyle. Maybe "magic pills" are the way to go, but, only after one has completely exhausted all Wholistic possibilities; including really examining the patient's  diet and exercise habits at the forefront of any treatment protocol. But, really, the average treatment is just to prescribe meds without really considering the patient's lifestyle at all. And  then side effects multiply, as the prescription types increase for the various side effects. This is what fucking kills people...SSK

      "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards UID 194838

      by Santa Susanna Kid on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:51:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The canard that chronic pain sufferers are all too (10+ / 0-)

    often addicted to their pain meds and should seek care at a pain management clinic?

    It's BULLSHIT.

    Yes, opiates are highly addictive and their efficacy reduces the longer you use it. Your body gets real good at metabolizing the opiate and your neural sensors get even better at failing to respond to the neural transmitter signals of opiates in the same way. In effect, the neuron receptors which the opiate travels upon accept less and less of it as time goes on.

    Hence one of the primary concerns with long-term use of opiates. You need more and more to get less and less relief.

    So there's that, and THAT is not insignificant when considering treating chronic pain.

    But the bigger issue is the damned DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and it's stranglehold on the Medical Community of These United States.

    Primary care doctors are becoming unwilling to prescribe ANY narcotic drug (Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet and a pantheon of the rest of the Opioid derivatives) - because they fear the attention of the DEA.

    Every single doctor who practices in the US has a DEA unique Identifier. They must include this number on every narcotic prescription which they write on special paper which has a required number of elements [note, that link is to a Department of Justice site, not an AMA (american medical association) site]:



    §1306.11 Requirement of prescription.

    (a) A pharmacist may dispense directly a controlled substance listed in Schedule II that is a prescription drug as determined under section 503 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 353(b)) only pursuant to a written prescription signed by the practitioner, except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. A paper prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance may be transmitted by the practitioner or the practitioner's agent to a pharmacy via facsimile equipment, provided that the original manually signed prescription is presented to the pharmacist for review prior to the actual dispensing of the controlled substance, except as noted in paragraph (e), (f), or (g) of this section. The original prescription shall be maintained in accordance with §1304.04(h) of this chapter.

    (b) An individual practitioner may administer or dispense directly a controlled substance listed in Schedule II in the course of his professional practice without a prescription, subject to §1306.07.

    (c) An institutional practitioner may administer or dispense directly (but not prescribe) a controlled substance listed in Schedule II only pursuant to a written prescription signed by the prescribing individual practitioner or to an order for medication made by an individual practitioner that is dispensed for immediate administration to the ultimate user.

    (d) In the case of an emergency situation, as defined by the Secretary in §290.10 of this title, a pharmacist may dispense a controlled substance listed in Schedule II upon receiving oral authorization of a prescribing individual practitioner, provided that:

    (1) The quantity prescribed and dispensed is limited to the amount adequate to treat the patient during the emergency period (dispensing beyond the emergency period must be pursuant to a paper or electronic prescription signed by the prescribing individual practitioner);

    (2) The prescription shall be immediately reduced to writing by the pharmacist and shall contain all information required in §1306.05, except for the signature of the prescribing individual practitioner;

    (3) If the prescribing individual practitioner is not known to the pharmacist, he must make a reasonable effort to determine that the oral authorization came from a registered individual practitioner, which may include a callback to the prescribing individual practitioner using his phone number as listed in the telephone directory and/or other good faith efforts to insure his identity; and

    (4) Within 7 days after authorizing an emergency oral prescription, the prescribing individual practitioner shall cause a written prescription for the emergency quantity prescribed to be delivered to the dispensing pharmacist. In addition to conforming to the requirements of §1306.05, the prescription shall have written on its face “Authorization for Emergency Dispensing,” and the date of the oral order. The paper prescription may be delivered to the pharmacist in person or by mail, but if delivered by mail it must be postmarked within the 7-day period. Upon receipt, the dispensing pharmacist must attach this paper prescription to the oral emergency prescription that had earlier been reduced to writing. For electronic prescriptions, the pharmacist must annotate the record of the electronic prescription with the original authorization and date of the oral order. The pharmacist must notify the nearest office of the Administration if the prescribing individual practitioner fails to deliver a written prescription to him; failure of the pharmacist to do so shall void the authority conferred by this paragraph to dispense without a written prescription of a prescribing individual practitioner.

    (5) Central fill pharmacies shall not be authorized under this paragraph to prepare prescriptions for a controlled substance listed in Schedule II upon receiving an oral authorization from a retail pharmacist or an individual practitioner.

    (e) A prescription prepared in accordance with §1306.05 written for a Schedule II narcotic substance to be compounded for the direct administration to a patient by parenteral, intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous or intraspinal infusion may be transmitted by the practitioner or the practitioner's agent to the pharmacy by facsimile. The facsimile serves as the original written prescription for purposes of this paragraph (e) and it shall be maintained in accordance with §1304.04(h) of this chapter.

    (f) A prescription prepared in accordance with §1306.05 written for Schedule II substance for a resident of a Long Term Care Facility may be transmitted by the practitioner or the practitioner's agent to the dispensing pharmacy by facsimile. The facsimile serves as the original written prescription for purposes of this paragraph (f) and it shall be maintained in accordance with §1304.04(h).

    (g) A prescription prepared in accordance with §1306.05 written for a Schedule II narcotic substance for a patient enrolled in a hospice care program certified and/or paid for by Medicare under Title XVIII or a hospice program which is licensed by the state may be transmitted by the practitioner or the practitioner's agent to the dispensing pharmacy by facsimile. The practitioner or the practitioner's agent will note on the prescription that the patient is a hospice patient. The facsimile serves as the original written prescription for purposes of this paragraph (g) and it shall be maintained in accordance with §1304.04(h).

    [36 FR 7799, Apr. 24, 1971, as amended at 36 FR 18733, Sept. 21, 1971. Redesignated at 38 FR 26609, Sept. 24, 1973 and amended at 53 FR 4964, Feb. 19, 1988; 59 FR 26111, May 19, 1994; 59 FR 30832, June 15, 1994; 62 FR 13964, Mar. 24, 1997; 65 FR 45713, July 25, 2000; 68 FR 37410, June 24, 2003; 75 FR 16307, Mar. 31, 2010]

    NOTICE: This is an unofficial version. An official version of this publication may be obtained directly from the Government Printing Office (GPO).

    Still with me?

    That sort of shit is what is causing doctors across America to demand that patients sign a Legal, Binding Contract to have access to Pain Clinic narcotics. Fail any of the requirements and they cut you off. Same day.

    I find this effect of the FAILED drug war to be insidious and counter-productive. It puts doctors and their patients (most of whom may even be drug seekers, but they LIVE WITH DAILY PAIN, they need the drugs to have a decent standard of life) to be at odds with each other.

    Which is no way to treat people who have medical conditions which put them in intractable pain on a daily basis.

    Cannabis is a great alternative to most of the opioids, it's NOT addictive (but if you use it regularly and run out and your pain returns you may find that you really, really want more - so you can end the damned pain), it's relatively inexpensive if you don't have good pharmacy coverage and do have high co-pays for standard narcotic pain pills, and it works fairly well for chronic pain relief.

    I know. I have had arthritis in both knees and ankles since I was under 40. Cannabis is the only thing which makes it possible for me to be even nominally active, as a result.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:15:52 PM PDT

    •  I'm really concerned that Washington is going t... (3+ / 0-)

      I'm really concerned that Washington is going to close the dispensaries and put all of the medical patients through the commercial stores. We've worked years to build an industry and community and the state was stupid to not take advantage of it.

      •  Well, they've amended the RCW for medical (4+ / 0-)

        cannabis a few times.

        Up until 2 years ago, a Medical Cannabis (MC) caregiver (the legal term used in the Revised Code of Washington [RCW] for the person who will grow your medicine) was able to have growing:

        Up to 15 plants which are 2 feet (24") tall or taller and and unlimited number of plants under that height.

        Today, that number of plants is now limited to 15 plants of any size, including sprouted from seed babies and cloned two leaf plants. However, they did increase the amount of cured Cannabis you can have on hand to 24 ounces (which is a pound plus). Enough medicine for one person for quite a while, at least a few months even for a regular user of significant quantities. I only use about 1/2 gram daily to combat chronic pain in my knees.

        Considering that there are fewer and fewer arrests of any sort for Cannabis in WA State the past year or so since the new Law went into effect Jan 2013, and considering the entire WA State sheriffs association decided to NOT arrest/cite or otherwise harass for simple possession of one ounce or less leads me to believe that the Law on Pot in the Evergreen State is not going anywhere - and that includes Medical Cannabis.

        The best part of the new law renovations was that prior, you could be a "caregiver" for someone else but not yourself. Today, you can be a caregiver for another or for yourself or for both you and someone else. Each legal tax lot residence can have up to 3 medical cannabis caregiver grows at any one time. So theoretically, you could grow for yourself and two other patients.

        With the ability to buy a small indoor greenhouse big enough to grow one full-sized Cannabis plant which fits quite easily in a Closet, anyone can become their own "Caregiver" and grow their own medicine in the privacy of their own home.

        HOWEVER should you choose to do so:

        Find a Medical Cannabis prescription writing doctor in your area and get a written recommendation (they don't call them prescriptions in this state). Get a plastic cover to slide that sheet of paper in and make FIVE copies (there's a lot of moisture in a grow room, that paper can easily deteriorate and need to be replaced) after you date and sign it as BOTH patient and Caregiver. Attach it to the wall of wherever you are growing your medicine (legally it MUST be placed NEXT TO THE PLANTS). THIS MEETS the legal requirement of the RCW code which outlines the requirements of such activity.

        Additionally, either make sure you do so in the home you own, or do not EVER disclose that you are doing it, because even though it's perfectly legal under WA State law, it's a federal offense and any landlord who discovers that you are doing it WILL EVICT YOU and may report you to the police. The last thing you want, even if they come and fail to arrest due to your abiding by State Law!

        I'm not so sure about the Dispensaries. They are NOT under the same assurances of the Law (they just operate on the outskirts of the Caregiver statutes) and they are not under the same requirements of the Legal Pot Retail Stores (such as testing for THC content). They may indeed find themselves OUT OF BUSINESS in the not too distant future.

        But the individual caregivers, those I think are safe. So long as the black market is quelled by the legal Retail sales stores and the Tax money rolls into the State and County coffers.

        "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

        by Angie in WA State on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:19:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Angie in WA State, thank you. What can we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kathy Scheidel

      do to change this?

      Until my oops surgery, I was relatively healthy & definitely never suffered the type of pain that needed something stronger than a OTC med.

      During my hospitalization, I was hooked up to an opium (kidding) drip that was later changed to some kind of line that dispensed the opium when ever I squeezed this ball thingy.

      I was pretty much out of it during my entire stay so I really don't know what this is called.  All I know is that I had a lot of lines going in and out of my body and never had one twinge of pain.

      At discharge, I was given prescriptions for valium (?), heavy duty pain meds & other RX.  This discharge was in the evening & I was unhooked before I left.  About a 40 mile drive home & to the pharmacy we use.  

      Sometime during the trip home, the opium wore off.  I discovered moaning for the first time in my life.

      Needless to say that trip home is not a pleasant memory for the family.

      Because of the class of drug I was on, the hospital could not phone the RX into our pharmacy.  So I had to wait in the car while the RX was being filled.  
      Subsequent refills meant a family member traveling 80 miles (round trip) to pick up a refill or change in pain meds.

      I had forgotten until you mentioned it that my PCP had me sign that narco agreement both times that he prescribed pain meds.  Somehow it made me feel creepy but I now understand why I had to & why he had to refer me to pain management facility (thanks to your comment).

      What I do not understand is why the hospital & the pain management facility can do what is necessary to alleviate pain but the PCP cannot.  I do not exaggerate when I say that the hospital made sure I was in no pain after my arrival there.  The pain management people seem to want to do the same (so far).

      I have discovered on my short journey that chronic pain alters the landscape of one's life in every way.  For those long on this journey, it is inhumane to allow suffering to continue when there is a means for relief.

      I want to know what an individual can do to help change this.  Does anyone know?

  •  Jesus wept. Reading these comments with the (8+ / 0-)

    suffering behind each word fills me with anger and confusion.

    I am truly confused as to why medication to relieve chronic pain is so restrictive.

    Like many, I always believed the meme & "feared" the addiction aspect of  prescription pain relievers.  

    In fact, I so believed what I'd "heard" that I actually failed to tell all of my doctors the amount of pain I was in 3 months post op.

    Luckily, my PCP noticed by my movements (walking/bending) during my 1st post op visit with him.  

    Said he was very concerned about the amount of pain I was exhibiting; provided me with new RX for pain, TENS unit & referral to pain center.

    Unfortunately for me, once that RX was gone it was not renewed.  Doctor said something about the class drug it was.

    So, I thought I just had to deal with pain.  It also made me feel like maybe I wasn't tough enough or hadn't given it enough time (body to heal).

    Resigned, I quit bringing it up & tried to be "tougher". That lasted about a year.  

    A year where I could not think because of pain.  Cannot drive, walk, freaking eat, do activities of daily living without pain.  Of being "tougher" and pushing past the pain to do whatever & ending up down & out for days due to pain.   Of being exhausted because of pain.

    As a result of needing to be followed by a liver transplant specialist, I had my 1st appointment a couple of months ago.  The liver specialist validated my pain (huzzah!) & theorized several reasons for it. Recommended I seek relief from a pain management anesthesiologist practice.

    So far, that route is working as the pain is dulled so that I don't moan constantly & can gradually do more.  Early stages yet, so we will see how it goes.  

    And I have definitive answers as to the reasons for the pain.  That I now know will never go away.  

    Had nothing to do with me not being "tough enough" nor needing a chemical fix or whatever others may presume.

    This coming October it will be two years of living every moment with pain at some level. My journey is just beginning but it has brought an awareness I did not have before.

    I am sick of moaning because of pain.  But, I am more sickened to read accounts of situations far worse than my own.  It is not right.

    It is terribly not right.

    What can one do to help bring about change for pain sufferers?

    •  For myself, since my doc won't prescribe (4+ / 0-)

      anything, I've been trying to use self hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation techniques with some limited success.  

      I like other chronic pain sufferers have my good days, where I can do some activities in moderation, and my bad days where I can barely move, and every movement causes pain.  

      The neck surgery I had was determined to be a success.  At least It doesn't feel like someone is trying to break and rip my arm off at the same time anymore.  

      Unfortunately I still get neck pain and some days I want my neck brace back on.  Today is one of those days.  

      I also have knees that are bone on bone, peripheral neuropathy, degenerative disc disease and sciatica and lower back pain if I stand or walk to far.  

      I can stand at the sink to do dishes for almost 5 minutes before I have to go sit down and let the pain subside.  I can walk for short distances before my lower back hurts too much to go on and my legs go more numb.  They used to come back if I sat for 5 minutes but not anymore.  

      Like everyone else I'm not getting any younger.  

  •  I get severe and frequent migraines (4+ / 0-)

    Despite the care of a neurologist I miss 2-3 days work every month.   The few painkillers that might help are taken off the market.  I do not have access to cannabis which I know from the past cures the headaches.  Now I suffer from depression as well.  Had a very severe bout of it last year.  I"m sorry that a few people get addicted, but those of us with chronic pain are people too.  Once again, where are our rights?

    sometimes the dragon wins

    by kathy in ga on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:51:39 AM PDT

  •  A novel by Andrew Vachss - "Pain Managment" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    art ah zen

    Vachss isn't for everybody, and to be honest I really dislike his "macho" view of women.  But he's one of my favorite crime writers. A review of the book says

    He takes to the unfamiliar streets, quickly and brutally establishing a presence. The whisper-stream carries him to a fanatical group of criminal samaritans dedicated to supplying adequate drugs for those suffering from chronic pain. Forced into a dangerous alliance, Burke walks the wire between betrayals, risking it all for a girl he has never met. The State-raised outlaw knows better than most that there are many kinds of pain. And many ways to "manage" it.
    Link to the book

    And thank you for this diary.

  •  I've done a lot of research on pain, meds,placebos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Travelin Man, worldlotus

    etc., due to having scleroderma, lots of pain for decades and learned that many 'pain' meds are placebos- meaning if you believe they take away your pain they do. Now a days I seldom even need one aspirin (don't trust Big Pharma after all my research) to manage any discomforts. The pain still comes, I give it a few minutes of attention, then focus on something else, take a walk etc., and I am doing very well. I wish I could explain how my brain has adjusted, I'd get rich if I could explain it, but I use a form of gratitude, acceptance and let the pain go and it disappears. Maybe that is my placebo, but it really works for me.

    In other words really research the placebo affect and you may come to an understanding and will be able to really take control of Your body- nobody else or thing can control
    you or your body unless you allow it.


    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

    by roseeriter on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:20:38 AM PDT

    •  I have been reading about placebos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and their effectiveness in pain management seems to be much higher for acute pain. The person feels better through the placebo long enough for the source of the pain to heal. In chronic pain sufferers, while a placebo may work for a while, eventually that wears off and they have to go back time and again for different medications.

      My pain comes from nerves that are slowly dying, except it takes them decades to do it. So the source of the damage is to the nervous system, which goes haywire without the meds. I've tried to ignore it. I've gone to work and realized I didn't bring my pills with me. By noon my hands feel like they are being stabbed with dozens of red hot needles. Tell me how a placebo or meditation is going to help me when all I can do is stare at my keyboard and cry.

      At the end of it all, I just want to be able to go to work, do my job, and take care of my family (and maybe have some fun). All of these things are exponentially harder when I am angry and bitter from hurting all the time.

    •  Sounds a lot like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, roseeriter

      the Sedona Method, which I have also tried.  

      Releasing pain or tension in the body

      Releasing emotional pain

      •  Glad there's a 'method' available- I pretty much (0+ / 0-)

        figured my way myself:)

        We live in a quick-fix society, but after 62 yrs of being on the planet I KNOW there are no quick-fixes for most emotional pain (which eventually manifests into physical pain)- Ya have to deal with it from the heart and soul level and that does take a good deal of time.

        And my observation is most people are perhaps too fearful, too impatient and rather blame others, like to whine for attention, think god will fix it etc., etc.

        "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

        by roseeriter on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:58:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you're discounting the effects of organ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think you're discounting the effects of organic mental illness. I'm bipolar and I have anxiety. Meditation is always helpful, but my illness requires more than deep breathing and focus. What am I supposed to do when I'm manic and in a panic attack? There is no "just calm down". The meds enable me to modulate my moods so that things like meditation and exercise can help. I've tried to manage without the meds but it is a recipe for out of control behavior and racing thoughts. Without these medications I would've been committed to a hospital. I almost killed myself earlier this year (really, I was begging my husband to take me to a hospital because I was scared at the way I was looking at the bottle of pills), fortunately my doc was able to tweak my meds and I'm much better. So to tell someone like me that the very medications that alleviate my pain are just a quick fix is to consign me to death or an institution.

          And to imply that my physical pain is somehow a manifestation of my psychologocal pain is to deny my own experience as well as the measurable deterioration in my nerves. People in pain are often told that is all in our heads. I beg to differ.

  •  In Oregon, We (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bradana, worldlotus

    have a Right to Die With Dignity-yet Denied the Right To Live With Dignity along the journey.
    Still Fighting For MedCanna Access Rights and Acceptance.

  •  This statement resonated with me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bradana, worldlotus
    find myself in a constant struggle with doctors and pharmacists who think they know what and how much pain meds I require.
    I am not in chronic pain, but I have experienced pain that was so bad that it is debilitating.  You can't do anything.  You can't even sleep to get relief because the pain is so bad.  You just want it to stop.  I remember having to plead with the Dr to prescribe something stronger than the Tylenol that they kept telling me to take.

    That was many years ago.  Now, about a year ago, I had the RNY surgery for weight loss.  One of the side effects is that you can't take NSAID (e.g. Aspirin, Advil, Aleve) because of a very high ulcer risk.  Instead, if Tylenol isn't enough the (medically safe) recommendation is for narcotics.  I dread the day I should find myself in such pain because of the bias that is so prevelant in US medicine against prescribing them.  From what I understand, the Drs are 'reviewed' and 'monitored' on the amount of "controlled" (the word makes me want to laugh) pain medicine they prescribe in this country.  Go figure.

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:07:54 AM PDT

    •  It starts to feel like (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blackhand, prettymeadow, worldlotus

      I am some kind of "drug seeker" when I ask for a stronger pain med, which I kind of am, just not in the way they take it to mean.

      Part of the point I was originally intending to make is that the default opinion is that no one needs opiates or tranquilizers (the two types of controlled substances I typically need) so you should only use them for temporary situations. Some of us, however are in pain every day and will be for the rest of our lives. Consigning me to just live with it because of someone else's fear of addiction just seems cruel.

      •  I Agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bradana, worldlotus
        Consigning me to just live with it because of someone else's fear of addiction just seems cruel.
        Come to think of it, someone else's fear drives a lot of cruelty in medicine and this goes beyond addiction.  Take for example a terminally ill patient.  One suffering from a painful ordeal like cancer.  In more enlightened countries, if the patient asks for it they will be given the inevitable out.  On their terms.  In the US they will be put in hospice and made to die slowly.  I suspect this one stems from religious (Christian) fear.  I am not Christian.  I am pagan.  I do not fear death.  I do not believe that we are judged by some divine entity upon death.  Yet, I am constrained by a system of idiotic laws based upon (Christian) fear of death and their fear that by assisting in the death of another that they would somehow 'sin' and damn themselves.  

        "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

        by blackhand on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:09:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  excellent point (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blackhand, prettymeadow, worldlotus

          When a beloved pet is in pain and nearing the end, we do the humane thing and put them to sleep. I had to watch my uncle, who had several malignant tumors in his brain, waste away in a nursing home until you could look in his eyes and see that he wasn't there anymore. It was just that his body took months more to catch up. He had wanted to die with dignity when it got to that point, but his wife, a devout Christian, refused to let that happen.

          It broke my heart.

  •  yeah. Oh, yeah. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Throw The Bums Out, Bradana

    I've got arthritis from an old foot injury, plus bad alignment in my back and hips that cause muscle spasms, plus fibromyalgia, I have panic attacks, and I have ADHD.

    So I need something for the arthritis pain plus fibro, I need a muscle relaxant for the muscle spasms, I need something as an emergency med for the panic attacks, and I need something for the ADHD.

    Now, I am a good patient. I use lists and timers and reminders on my phone. I have eliminated the foods that give me IBS attacks and fog my head, I do stretching and low impact exercise every day, I walk as much as I can, I am actively taking my weight down, and work hard to keep myself in a low-stress enviroment. I don't need a class to learn how to do it. I'm good there.

    I just need the damn prescriptions for small amounts of an opiate, a skeletal muscle relaxant, a benzodiazapine, and an amphetamine. That's all.

    So, of course, I am unmedicated and living with a significant degree of physical and mental discomfort.

    Help me get my utilities on! I can't eat this elephant by myself.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 05:26:33 PM PDT

    •  Are you, by any chance (0+ / 0-)

      in a medical marijuana state? My best friend is a medical cannabis advocate and she also suffers from a back injury and ADHD. She uses mmj for her nerve pain and muscle spasms in her back, as well as for her ADHD. I've noticed when she is consistent on a treatment with Rick Simpson Oil and similar concentrates, she is so much better. She has even dropped her Ritalin in favor of mmj. I strongly encourage you to look for these concentrates because the medical research is so promising in treating everything from nerve pain (one of my problems) to cancer to mental illness to diabetes. My regular doc is so thrilled with my even blood sugar results and that I've been able to drop all blood pressure meds because my pressure has dropped so much.

      Still, I feel for you. I hope you find some way to get some help because no one should live their life in pain.

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