A medical community in crisis over Opioids and patient choices for resolution and relief, was Opioids merely a symptom?
For years, the medical community has made pain control a priority. Pain management had become one of the drivers of Opioid addition problems in the USA, helped along by a pharmaceutical industry that wanted to increase their market share. In today’s marketplace, a patient can often buy heroin off the street for less than their Opioid medication cost, which has helped fuel the growth of heroin addiction here in the USA.
Doctors who recommended the medications to relieve suffering often had no idea that later on the pain their patients were experiencing after being on Opioids my actually be a symptom of withdrawal. (1) Most patient also do not understand the limits their traditional doctor has when it comes to understanding pain or recommending effective ways to resolve it. Most doctors have also continued to avoid many non traditional providers who either are not covered by insurance, or are not traditionally on their referral tracts.
Some of those who are on long term opioids were people in pain who had no idea why they were in pain and neither did their doctors. Many who are in chronic pain experienced failed medical procedures such as failed back surgeries.
Others are simply looked at improperly, as most medical doctors understand very little about the nuances about body mechanics. This lack of understanding has led to many surgeries and rehab regimens that could not possibly work, yet patients out of desperation went to their doctors who offered limited choices within the medical realm, while other choices that may have helped including acupuncture, chiropractors and naturopaths were never even considered before more expensive and drastic measures were used.
This brings to mind a patient we recently saw who was unable to move her neck after “sleeping the wrong way”. Her colorful medical history included being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and more. When she was younger, she experienced hip pain that had inflammation and unexplained swelling which went undiagnosed as there was no true diagnosis to describe her condition and then finally endometriosis for which she had a surgery that relieved her abdominal pain. She visited a myofascial therapist who as I did dug into this past history and placed her on a diet that improved many of these symptoms markedly. Now, the just begun to understand the connection between her neck pain, problems in her pelvis and the mechanisms of gait that attributed to all of the problems she was living with. It is quite likely that had she followed the traditional “Medical Model”, she may have been an opioid statistic after visiting pain management, yet conservative non traditional medical management has markedly improved her condition with treatments that are often poorly or loosely covered by insurance. How many people do you know who have a story like this to tell?
An interesting blog discusses the current conversation in the medical community regarding this, and other poorly understood pain mechanisms that are beyond their grasp, since there is little or no understanding of the nuances of body mechanics, scar formation and even pain mechanisms, yet medication seems to be a usual destination that is both dangerous and expensive. The Opioid problem is merely a symptom of what happens when your profession treats symptoms, rather than the mechanisms that cause them.
Check out the article here
A “civil war”™ over painkillers rips apart the medical community “” and leaves patients in fear
PALO ALTO, Calif. “” For Thomas P. Yacoe, the word is “œterrifying.”
Leah Hemberry describes it as “œconstant fear.”
For Michael Tausig Jr., the terror is “œbeyond description.”
All three are patients struggling with chronic pain, but what they are describing is not physical agony but a war inside the medical community that is threatening their access to painkillers “” and, by extension, their work, their relationships, and their sanity.
Two years after the United States saw a record 27,000 deaths involving prescription opioid medications and heroin, doctors and regulators are sharply restricting access to drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin. But as the pendulum swings in the other direction, many patients who genuinely need drugs to manage their pain say they are being left behind.
Doctors can”™t agree on how to help them.