When getting pain meds is a pain

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

A decade ago, I was given pain medication liberally for back pain from a bad cycling accident. I did not abuse it.

Recently, I reinjured my back in a car accident. After I went home from the hospital, I had to argue

with one doctor who finally gave me only a few painkillers.

I thought it was ridiculous that I had to argue with a doctor to get a few pills to be able to go through physical therapy. I then went to a different doctor. He was worse and treated me like a child. He scolded me, shamed me, and I left without a prescription.

I went to the hospital the next day because my pain was excruciating. They gave me a prescription for nine pills.

Why is everyone suspicious of anyone who wants help for their pain? Doesn’t anyone care that I am clearly not an addict? I’m a professional legal secretary who has been at the same wonderful job for 20 years.

Why is the world judging me as “less than” because I want pills for my pain?

I shouldn’t have to feel like a criminal when asking for pain-pills!


Signed,

Not a criminal

Dear Not a criminal,

We agree that you shouldn’t be made to feel like a criminal when you are a patient in chronic pain who needs relief.

The problem is the addiction pendulum is swinging heavily on the side of trying to help the many who became addicted to opioid painkillers. This has caused authorities to clamp down on the once over-prescribed drugs.

Now, patients like you are lumped unfairly into the addiction category.

Balance is the answer. Yes, there is a crisis of too many opioid addicts.

However, there are too many patients who are now being denied medication that relieves their pain.

The shaming of legitimate patients is damaging.

Every patient needs to be treated on an individual basis.

The following stats are from the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association:

• 71 percent of patients report being switched to less effective pain medications by their doctors, who fear lawsuits;

• 52 percent felt stigmatized as a patient receiving pain medication; and,

• 27 percent of patients reported suicidal thoughts when unable to receive pain relief.

There is truth to both sides of the addiction and pain-relief problem. The solution is to increase awareness and individually assess each patient.

Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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