Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pain Medication

During my interaction with the CCPC Organization and my involvement in other related areas, forums, etc., I have come to see the issue of pain medication as one of the most popular themes. A book could be written about the subject, but I offer some of my opinions in this short article.

The first thing any pain sufferer seeks is a cure for the source of the pain–that’s logical. If the pain continues past a respectable point–with or without any type of treatment–it becomes classified as chronic pain–that’s an illogical concept for the human being because it seems unnatural. Somewhere in that time frame, most sufferers have already become acquainted with some type of pain medication. While the chronic pain was blossoming, and with its persistence, a lot of other issues took place, but no other is as popular a theme than that of pain medication. The subject is a ‘wide open’ field, and the results of its allotment, management, usage, and deprivation contributes greatly to all things that ultimately serve as judge, jury, and executioner of the condition of chronic pain.

When a sufferer reaches a conclusion that a total cure for whatever is causing the chronic pain is not possible, relief of the pain becomes the objective. As unfair as it is to be afflicted with such a horrible thing as chronic pain, it is not a condition able to be treated in a routine manner–like a sore throat, appendectomy, flu, or any other condition that follows an orderly method of treatment. But most sufferers don’t see it that way: they expect–demand–a surefire solution to the problem. What most sufferers don’t realize is that they have a responsibility in that matter.

As there are with all medications or 'drugs,' there are adverse effects with opiate pain medications–mainly dependency and addiction. Actually very few chronic pain patients do develop addiction to pain medications, most that show that stereotypical response are really pseudoaddicts because their behavior is based on a goal to relieve pain. Most chronic pain sufferers will build some dependency and experience withdrawal symptoms if the medications are stopped abruptly. With higher levels and prolonged use of opioids, brain receptors can become re-conditioned (tolerance) after extended usage, and demand more of the drug to accomplish the same level of relief. The drug, alcohol accomplishes the same task, but with use of a different organ, the liver, and requires greater amounts of that drug to accomplish the same effect. But nobody with severe chronic pain is going to escape using opiates to some extent; there just hasn't been anything else yet invented that is as effective.

In recent months, we chronic pain sufferers have had the entertainment of hearing all about health care in the United States. As a veteran sufferer, I can tell you this: despite your stand on health care issues in the U.S., I have yet to hear one politician who has even a clue about health care-real health care that is–the care and management of the suffering. I have yet to hear one news reporter clarify the real issues–not Glenn Beck, Geraldo Rivera, Katie Couric, Mike Huckabee, Bill O'Reilly, Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper, or Larry King, etc. The responsibility of reporting in the news media was once a respected position. CNN, Fox News, WNBC, and the major networks have made entertainment shows out of reporting slanted views of news issues, and the issue of health care has been completely overlooked. The debates have been over ‘coverage’ and not ‘health care,’ and most have mainly addressed only abstract issues of the real subject. Health care in the U.S. is a mess, and there will not be an easy way out of that fact.

Pain medication for chronic pain sufferers is but one example of the lack of sensitivity regarding the issue of health care. Regardless of who pays for it (that is not intended to be the theme of this article), chronic pain sufferers have the humane right to know the facts about different types of pain medication, effects, addiction and dependency, benefits and consequences. With those facts assimilated, the sufferers should have the right to be involved in making a judgment call on what they feel is best for their individual needs. Then, if they choose to suffer consequences in their battle against pain that should be their right–but only with valid information.

Doctors claim that they are prey for unscrupulous lawyers seeking to profit in this category, and that they are under constant pressure from the DEA. Although these are undeniable facts, there is an argument against them. Many doctors do not want to take the time to explain a complete summary of pain medications. Instead, they prohibit them, or haphazardly prescribe them, and then cut the patient off after a time. The DEA should back off when it comes to valid chronic pain sufferers. There are enough social stigmas with just having chronic pain, and more are unnecessary. Unfortunately, substance abuse is a problem that will never be un-invented; the DEA can take different approaches. In my opinion, they should be going after the big ‘bad guys’ instead of letting them get away so that banks can make such a lucrative business laundering their money.

For those in immediate need of pain meds, seek out the clinics and pain management centers. Although I don’t agree with the undignified manner of treatment and social stigmas attached with many of them, they can serve that immediate purpose. I for one do not feel that it is justified that chronic pain sufferers must conform to the agenda proposed by the government, doctors, and lawyers that require additional labor, time, and expense in getting necessary medication; though they are profitable for those entities, they undermine the dignity of the human being, and remind me of a fascist regime. It's funny that a drug called alcohol is legal, and yet authenticated chronic pain sufferers have to degradingly squirm in doctor's offices and pharmacies to receive the medications that help their pain.

I prefer the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of all chronic pain sufferers–involvement! The CCPC Organization can provide camaraderie, but also the strength in numbers that can see to it that our voices are heard.

–Dave Navarria

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