So once again it is about PAIN ! Chronic pain consumes you. It eats at your reserves both mentally and physically. Fighting pain all day is draining. You feel exhausted like you just had a fantastic workout and yet you haven't broken a sweat. Unless of course your pain level jumped or your pain medicine causes you to sweat, then you probably have.
Let's talk about that for a minute. Pain level jumps. It sounds so harmless yet it sure as heck isn't. It could be anything. You twist or turn the wrong way. You try and bend down to pick something up. You reach for that can of favorite soup at the grocery store and bam you get hit with a flood of pain. You can go from a nice even 5 to an 8 in a split second and believe me a 10 in this situation is not something to wish for. If you happen to be out and about that's it. End of outing. Time to go home. Nope you can't finish the shopping. Nope it won't wait until Uncle Dave's cake is cut. Time to crawl home and hope you can get some relief from your medication and lying down. It doesn't matter that you rested up for 2 days before hand just so you could go do whatever it was you were doing. It doesn't matter that you swallowed your pride and asked that nice lady to get the bottle of olive oil from the bottom shelf for you. You did everything you could and here you are heading home with half the shopping not done. That sucks in a big way.
We spend every day fighting our pain. Think that doesn't suck ? Try again. But what about your pain meds ? Don't those help ? Well yes and no. Yes it does bring it down to a steady level. No it does not eliminate it completely. With mine my steady level is 5. I sure wish it would drop below 5 and stay there but it won't. Doctors walk a fine line between relieving pain and making the patient a zombie if they are any good. Nobody wants to take pills and sit around with no energy in a cloud all the time.. Oops I almost forgot some idiots do. They are called addicts. They like to abuse pain medications. Why I have no clue. They cost a ton of money and to me they don't do anything but bring the pain down. There is no cloud nine. There is no drifting away feeling. There is no euphoric feeling, nothing. But it is because of those idiots that every single patient in a PM clinic has to put up with the belief that we are all addicts and prove we are not before we can be treated. Every freaking time we go in. There is no innocent until proven guilty here. Nope not one bit. The view is screw you, you are all addicts until you pass our tests and then maybe we will treat you. But beware, piss us off and we will dismiss you and you won't be able to get into another PM clinic.
That's the "fun" part of pain management clinics. Don't complain too much they can cut you off. Don't miss an appointment for any reason because they can cut you off. Car got a flat tire ? Too bad. They may be nice and let it slide one time but don't ever miss another. Don't refuse their treatment recommendations even if they have not worked for you before, they will cut you off. Don't complain about the staff being abusive. They called you a mother fucking addict ? They can and you have to deal with it. They can abuse you up and down. Do anything their little heart desires because switching to a new clinic is almost impossible. They have got you by the nuts figuratively and they know it. Most PM clinics will not take someone who is switching clinics no matter what the reason. You have to beg and plead and cross your fingers and hope. They think you are doctor shopping. That's a big no no and a sign you might be an addict. So you put up with everything they throw at you because you know just how bad the pain will get without your medication.
We have hit upon the crux of the problem. Pain management clinics know that you have no choice really. You have to put up with the BS and humiliation. They know they can do anything they want and you can't fight back. That is not how a healthy doctor patient relationship is built. How in the hell can it be when one side has all of the power ? In a normal doctor patient relationship patients have some power. They can leave if they don't like the doctor. They can get a second opinion if they feel their original doctor is wrong. None of that is possible in pain management. The patient can't go to another doctor. They will be accused of doctor shopping. Same with trying to get a second opinion. This means that the patient must hope they find a good pain management clinic on their first shot. That is pretty hard considering how many horror stories are out there about pain management clinics. There are some really good doctors who are practicing in the pain management field but there are many more who have gotten into the field with little to no training in treating chronic pain and whose major motivation is the almighty dollar.
Jump on down below the orange snow doodle and take a look at more of the problems.
Pain management is the only medical field where the patient is looked upon as an addict first. Everything is set up to make the patient prove they are not an addict. Think about that for just a moment. We live in America, we have a justice system that has as it's first position innocent until proven guilty and yet every single pain management patient is an addict until proven otherwise. This isn't a one time thing. You get to prove your innocent every single time you walk in for an appointment. The whole staff is waiting for you to fuck up and let it slip you are an addict. They are trained not in pain management practices but they sure are trained to try and spot addicts. How freaking sick is that.
We can walk into an ER anywhere in the country and be treated for whatever is wrong. We don't have to prove we are not addicts. We can go to our family physician and be treated and they will not assume you are an addict. If it does come out they will not deny you treatment, nope they will try and help you. You will be referred to an addiction treatment center. Not so with pain management. Nope, screw up and give them the impression you are an addict and you are out on your ass. No referral, no help, nada, zip , NOTHING. Here is the thing. You may really have started out needing pain management. You had a very real injury and you went to pain management. Too bad for you they got you hooked. Out you go. Too bad , so sad now leave. You are on your own.No referral to an addiction treatment center. No referral to anyone to help. Better start looking in the phone book.
When you look closely at pain management you will see the problems within and the problems are huge. They are setup to make money from people who are at their lowest. They are recovering from surgeries or injuries. Their lives have been turned upside down. Then their doctor refers them to pain management. Now their Hell really begins. Instead of compassion they are greeted with suspicion. Instead of help they get humiliation. They are pushed to accept unneeded treatments to line the pockets of the doctors. They are prescribed medications that are highly addictive and have a long list of side effects. If they are lucky they will have a short stay here in Hell. For some of us the Hell is ongoing. We will not get better. Our bones will not heal. Our bodies will continue to generate pain daily for us.
I started this to explain how much pain affects those of us who have to deal with chronic pain. I wound up jumping over to how bad pain management is in this country. These two are very much connected. We live with pain each and every day of our lives. We have a ton of stress from that. We feel pretty bad about how little we can do thanks to pain. We worry about getting worse and in the midst of all of that we have to deal with pain management clinics. Talk about adding to our stress. More than 80% of those who are in pain management are there for legitimate reasons. The rest are there to try and fool the doctors into feeding their addiction. All of the steps taken do not guarantee an addict will not get in. They do and the result is more rules and regulations and hoops for us to jump through.
There is a real need to change the practice of pain management in our country. There is the need for more research and more training in combating pain. There is a desperate need for new and better medications that are less addictive and have less side effects. There is a huge need for more compassion in this field. There is a huge need for more consideration for the addictive nature of these drugs we are using. There needs to be better access to addiction treatment centers throughout America. Pain management doctors need to work hand in hand with psychiatrists and addiction centers to fight the addiction that can result from these drugs.
It is past time for us to fight. We know about fighting. We fight our pain daily and we are tenacious. We can make a difference if we work together to demand change in a meaningful way. We do not need more rules and regulations. We need more compassion and less suspicion. It is time to fight for our rights as pain patients. It is time to stand up and hold up a mirror to the pain management profession and let them see how bad the field has become. It is time to demand compassion from those who are supposed to be helping us. We would not stand still for this amazing lack of compassion in any other medical field. It is time to stop it now.