Sunday, November 18, 2007

Veterinarians receive 3 times more training on pain than doctors and nurses

This is a Canadian survey, but I believe it and it is probably worse in the USA. I also recently learned from a reliable survey that "old people" are the most undertreated for pain, followed by "children", then "women". "Men in the 30 to 45 year old range get the best pain treatment".

"Toronto - A recent survey for the Canadian Pain Society found students in veterinary medicine received an average of 98 hours on pain education, while medical students spent about 16 hours studying the subject.

Among the vets in training polled in the University of Toronto survey, the least amount of specific pain education received was 27 hours, whereas some medical and nursing students admitted they'd received no training on pain at all.

Nursing students spent an average of 31 hours on the subject of pain.

"All the veterinary colleges had way more hours than medicine, nursing, dentistry (and) pharmacy," said lead researcher of the study, Judy Watt-Watson.

She told 680News a stubborn stigma around chronic pain is playing a role. "There are chronic diseases related to pain that we can't take an X-ray of," she said.

One in four Canadians have suffered from chronic pain, according to researchers, who suggest training on the subject should be mandatory, not elective, in more medical schools across the country.

The society said this lack of training is leaving Canadian health care professions inadequately equipped to treat pain-related problems".

Source:Taiwo Lewis
.680 News

I receive a lot of e-mail from people all over the world, especially Canada, New Zealand, UK, and of course here in the USA and it really doesn't matter where, its the same horror stories and the same stigma no matter what the country. It is also a damn disgrace.

I will leave my first bit of education for the medical profession. Here is the stigma. "I am afraid you will become addicted". That statement in itself is wrong. You don't become addicted. Addiction is a behavioral problem, part of it even hereditary, where by people get medication for the high, the euphoric feeling and most have no chronic pain problems.

Chemical dependency is the correct word and is a natural occurrence when people have to take powerful medication for a pro-longed period of time. All you do is start slowly reducing the amount of medication you are taking until you are off of it. As a matter of fact "addiction" and "chemical dependency" take place in two totally different areas of the brain.

How do I know? Because I have gotten off of powerful opiods myself, seven or eight times. If I felt like I needed help getting off of them, I would tell my Doctor and ask him to help me. Why, because like the majority of people in chronic pain, I am not a damn drug addict.

Friday, November 9, 2007

How can you write a blog about Chronic Pain when you are in so much pain?

I was recently asked this question by my Psychiatrist. "How can you write about chronic pain when you are in so much pain yourself". Honestly, it is getting harder to keep this blog updated. In the beginning it was my hope of getting the attention of the medical profession and the politicians. The most rewarding thing is to get comments and I also receive a lot of e-mail from people in pain. I am an advocate for chronic pain through such wonderful organizations as The American Pain Foundation. Chronic pain is one of the most stigmatized diseases in the world, just like Mental Illness used to be and still is to a degree, but not as bad as in the past.

It is only in the past decade that mental illness and psychiatrists have been getting the credit they deserve. In the past people suffering from any form of mental illness were characterized as "being crazy", "retarded", "messed up in the head, sickos". In 2006 an independent study showed that 11% of women and 5% of men take antidepressants. This situation is far from perfect but thanks to scientists and research, we are finally starting to understand the complexities of the human brain and the central nervous system.

Depression and anxiety problems or panic attacks which is a form of mental illness is a problem that Chronic Pain sufferers have to deal with also, especially if you have lived with chronic pain like me, for years. The Psychiatrist I mentioned above, I believe "with all my heart", was placed in my life by GOD. I have been seeing him for 16 years. I have been in Chronic Pain for 25 years. He has treated me for depression and panic attacks for 16 years. He has watched me go from a person with constant pain levels of 3-4 to constant 10 pain levels. He has also watched me battle with back surgeries that only made the pain worse. He has watched me battle the so-called pain management specialists who only want to do their spinal injections at $2500.00 per shot then send you back to your primary care Dr. for pain medication.

Out of anger at what I have been through and compassion for the way I was having to live he made this statement to me. He said, I really have no desire to get into pain management, but I am going to start treating you for your pain. He knows that the medication he prescribes is not sufficient for my pain level but it helps. That was 5 years ago and he still prescribes all of my medication. Not only is he a good psychiatrist but he is a very knowledgeable Medical Doctor. I have nothing but gratification for him and in my life he is one of about three in the medical profession I can say that about.

Chronic Pain is a disease and finally research is starting to reveal the complexities of it. It will not be in my life time that the "he is only wanting drugs because he is an addict" stigma will be lifted. In the meantime myself and about 60-70 million others will continue to "suffer in silence".