This week is “National Pain Week” in Australia. Trying to raise awareness.
I’m a little frustrated that the term “chronic pain” is now used almost exclusively to describe a pain sensitisation syndrome where the original injury has healed, but the nervous system has (mal) adapted, and pain continues.
I have big problem with this for a few reasons:
1) Its just a theory. Its not proven by any means. Google it.
2). People already have a hard enough time believing that diseases like inflammatory arthritis can cause daily, unrelenting, severe pain. This theory further stigmatises us, and allows people to continue to disbelieve. Some chronic pain IS caused by tissue damage that is ongoing, and caused by a proven disease process. Why don’t people want to believe this??? Where are week supposed to find help and support?
3) It gives doctors another reason not to prescribe opioids to those who need it, because opioids “aren’t effective for chronic pain”. Also a theory that has startlingly few studies to back it up.
I’m not pro-opioids. I’m pro-pain management for those who need it, by whatever means they require. If that’s acupunture, great. If that’s a tens machine, that’s great. If that’s opioids, that’s great too. If that’s heat packs and exercises, that’s great too.
Opioids are not the easy option. They are not a cop out. We are not addicts.
Pain management is individual. Everyone’s pain is different. But we all deserve to live with our pain managed as best as possible, given current medical knowledge.
Believe the patient. “Nothing about me, without me.” is the theme for National Pain Week this year. Hear hear.