Chronic Pain in the US

An estimated 50 MILLION people live with chronic pain. IN THE UNITED STATES

Let that sink in for a moment.

The CDC says that there are 128 overdose deaths in the united states due to opioids. But they put heroin in with prescription opioids and count that as part of the ‘epidemic’.

I don’t know about you but I don’t use heroin to treat my pain. I’m not making light of the situation, those who use heroin are risking their lives every time. It’s a horrible addiction from what I’ve read. But let’s bring in some common sense. Most (not all) heroin users CHOSE to use heroin. I didn’t choose to have chronic pain – specifically a nerve bundle (or several) trapped in my abdominal wall that causes horrific pain.

Pain that I am no longer allowed to be treated for with opioids. Regardless of the fact that I was not / am not addicted. Regardless of the fact that I followed every rule, and requirement. Regardless of the fact that I tried the other methods of pain relief they put me on with disasterous results.

The chronic pain community has been marginalized and it is not right. Are we not entitled to caring, competent care? Aren’t we allowed to have relief from pain that works with minimal side effects?

Many of us suffer from other chronic/incurable conditions in addition to chronic pain. Our bodies have a very small threshold for changes in our prescriptions. In my case, any changes cause my Meniere’s disease symptoms to flare dramatically. If a medication says it may cause dizziness – it will cause violent vertigo in my case, and I can’t afford to be bedridden for weeks. The doctors at the pain clinic told me I’d eventually get used to the side effects.

What part of competent and compassionate care is that??? I miss the days when my doctor and I discussed treatment options and decided on a best course of action. I hate that someone stepped into my appointments without my permission and denied my care.

I am currently not using any prescription medications for pain – although, frankly – I wish I was. For the last couple of years, I have pain relief from a combination of herbs which I brew into a tea, or powder into capsules. This, plus over-the-counter Tylenol and ibuprofen do help with the constant pain. But nothing helps with the breakout stabbing, throbbing, making me scream pain. when I get that, which is frequent, I have no stronger options for relief.

Because I’m not allowed.