Friday, March 30, 2007

More on my Pain Management visit

On my second visit My wife was with me again. This Doctor was an anesthesiologist. Aparently, at least in the area where I live, every Pain Doctor is an anesthesiologist and from past experience I knew that he was going to want to inject me with Epidural shots. Not only is this a very expensive procedure, but it is a very lucrative business. Injections in the spineal area can be very dangerous. These type medical practices are being called "procedure Mills" even by other doctors in the medical industry, especially primary care doctors because they know as soon as the anesthesiologists finish their injections they will only send the patients back to them for pain medication. I can not believe that insurance companies keep paying for these procedures.

After he found out my past medical history he did not want to inject me, because at least he had enough sense to know that he was going do more harm than good. He did say he would like to inject the facet joints. I almost laughed in his face. Because of my own knowledge I knew that it was a very conservative procedure, of course he would still get his $2,500.00. My psychiatrist with whom I have had a 15 year relationship has been furnishing my medications out of compassion but I knew that he had no desire to be in pain management.

My wife finally said to the anesthesiologist, O.K. Jerry's quality of life without something to help the pain is a 1. He has no history of any kind of addiction. His quality of life on the medication now is about a 5. Why can't you prescribe medication that will at least give him that quality of life. The Doctor kinda stuttered and stammered around then said well, let me talk to your other Doctors. It was very clear that all he was doing was trying to get rid of us. About a week later I received a letter from him saying that he didn't feel that he could help me, that he had referred me back to my primary care doctor and psychiatrist for them to continue my medication. I was not suprised, I knew it was coming. Something has to be done in the area of pain management so people who are in so much pain receive the proper treatment without being stigmatized as drug addicts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Chronic Pain patient and Opiods

It is not my intention to say that every person who walks into a Doctors office and complains of pain should be prescribed opiods. However the previous statement does not describe a chronic pain patient. These people are like me. They have had numerous operations and other invasive procedures that have not stopped their pain and in most cases has only made it worse. Most chronic pain patients hate taking pain pills. What they really want is a normal life. Below is part of an article from WebMd.

"In the last few years, everyone's heard about the apparent epidemic of prescription drug addiction, especially to narcotic painkillers. We see human-interest stories on the news about regular folks getting hooked on OxyContin or Vicodin. Every few months, it seems, we get another news release from a new celebrity confessing to an addiction. The reports may give you the impression that the lure of these drugs is irresistible, that we're all just a few pills away from addiction.

This leaves many people with chronic back pain -- and often their doctors -- stuck in the middle. On the one hand, they're afraid of the risks of addiction that come with powerful painkillers. On the other, they're suffering from severe and debilitating pain and need some kind of help.
But are the risks of prescription drug addiction really as great as we think?
"There's this buzz that these painkillers are demon drugs being marketed to unsuspecting grandmas," says Karen Miotto, MD, an addiction psychiatrist at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. "But that's not the case."

There's no doubt that prescription drug addiction can be devastating and destroy lives. But for many experts, the more widespread public health issue is that people in desperate and debilitating pain aren't getting the painkillers they need because of inflated fears of addiction. While opioid painkillers -- like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin -- have risks, they're often outweighed by the benefits, experts say.

Source: By R. Morgan Griffin

And the above is true. I personally know several people in the level of pain that I am in. None of them are addicted to anything. They are just like me, all they want is the ability to have some kind of life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The pain management Procedure mills.

Every day in this country, people are walking into the office of a doctor that claims to be specialized in pain management. As for as I am concerned it is a joke!!! The only thing that is not funny about it is the cost. It is very expensive. Many people end up with more pain as a result of these injections. I am one of those people. The majority of these doctors are anesthesiologists. My primary care doctor wanted me to go to one and even though I had been down this road before, I agreed.

As usual he wanted to do an epidural shot which I knew was coming. They usually want to do a series of three which will cost you about $2,500.00 per shot. After I sat down with him and shared my complete medical history with him, he decided that he didn't want to put a needle into my spine, not that I would have let him anyway. To make a long story short, here I am a patient with pain level of 9-10 on a 10 scale. This so-called pain management doctor lets me walk out of his office without offering to prescribe anything for pain. Why? It is an increasing medical "scam" and they are nothing but "procedure mills" as far as I am concerned. It is very profitable. While I will not name names, I have heard these same feelings and frustrations expressed by doctors especially Primary Care Doctors, because when they finish with their injections, they send you back to your primary Dr. for him to prescribe pain medications, if he is willing to.

I have had 4 surgeries but I have nothing to show for it but more pain. After my last surgery I bitterly vowed that I would educate myself on pain and procedures of the spine and that I have done exactally that. An Epidural shot is more that just the name of an injection. The Epidural is the first of 3 very thin linings that surround the delicate nerves and cerebral fluids in the spine and brain.

This is a quote from a well known Neurosurgeon. I will not use his name because I don't have permission.

"Any substance injected into the epidural space near a prior dural puncture site will inevitably find its way into the subarachnoid space. It would be inappropriate to risk bathing a segment of the spinal cord in ethylene glycol, or any depo-corticosteroid solution". Believe it or not, "ethylene glycol" is one of the primary ingredients in "automobile anti-freeze.

Bottom line, if you have a new injury in your spinal column before you run out and start having injections or surgeries, you better educate yourself, or you will end up like me and 60 million others with nothing to look forward to but a life of Chronic Pain.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Doctors have opiodphobia

Where do you turn when you walk out of a physicians office after he has just told you that he cannot prescribe anything for your pain because he is afraid you will become addicted? Your pain level is so high that you are wandering if you can make it through the day, yet this so-called medical professional is more worried about addiction than your pain. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. This is what the "chronic pain individual" faces every single day of their life. Opiodphobia!! that is what I call it. It doesn't matter if you have no record of any kind of addiction. It is just like being found guilty before having a trial. If you are a "chronic pain "sufferer you are stigmatized.

I recently changed primary care physicians and started calling around to find a new one. The very first one I called, as I was describing my problems to her and mentioned chronic pain, this was the exact reply. Well I will tell you right now, we don't prescribe "narcotics". This statement only shows the lack of education the medical industry really has on controlling chronic pain. First of all they are not narcotics. This is a law enforcement term. The medical name for these drugs are opiods, opiates or "Schedual II controlled substances approved by the FDA for treatment of severe chronic pain and cancer patients. You don't become addicted. Addiction is a behavorial problem in people, and some of it is even hereditary. People who take street drugs to get high and sometimes people who take drugs for pain and continue after they no longer need them. That is addiction. The correct term is "chemical dependency" which is a normal occurance in anyone who has to take this type of drug. To get off of them when you no longer have to have them, tell your Dr. and he will start slowly lowering your dosage until you are completely rid of them. How do I know all of this. Four back surgeries and multiple intravenous injections, all of which have only made my problems worse and 25 years of sitting up all night reading every piece of medical publication I could find on the internet, watching surgery webcasts, and listening to the surgeons who are not afraid to tell the truth. The person who lives in chronic pain lives the most lonely, painful life in the world.