Was just cruising through and noticed this topic. Since it's one that's very important to me, I immediately registered and here I am
My background is critical-care nursing for almost 25 years. I hurt myself at work, and from there things have just gone downhill and I am now classified as a chronic pain patient.
It is extremely
difficult as a chronic pain patient to find adequate care and relief of one's chronic pain. Most docs don't understand chronic pain management, and neither does most of the rest of the medical profession. Many patients are labeled as "drug-seekers" when they ask for more pain meds.
I've done extensive research into chronic pain (as I did for my other medical problems...as we ALL would) and yes, a CP patient does become dependant on the meds. Which is MUCH different than becoming addicted. The difference is WHY you take the meds. If someone is escalating their med use in order to get high and not deal with life, they are addicted. However, a CP patient takes the pain meds to HAVE a life...to be able to get out of bed and have some semblance of a normal life. Yes, they become physically dependant on the meds and will go through withdrawal if the meds are dc'd.
kona2--I'm glad to see you and others are expressing lots of interest in treating patients with pain. Heck, I graduated in 1975..and was of the school of "if they don't ask for something for pain, they must not need anything" and "geez, here comes Mrs. X again with her migraine" and we'd all roll our eyes because we were all sure she was a drug-seeker.
Nothing like having chronic pain yourself to open up the 'ol eyeballs. The question was raised about well, what about 30 years down the road?? Well, what about it? Does that mean we shouldn't have pain relief? That we should just "learn to live with it.?" I don't think so. Not ONE chronic pain patient I know WANTS to take opiates. Heck, the side effects can be tremendous. No one gets out of their bed and says "Hey, think I'll get up, take a bunch of MSContin and then I'll have to take 5 Senokot, some Miralax, and Yakima Fruit Paste so I can have a BM today." Not fun, trust me. If they came out with some non-narcotic med that WORKED for severe intractable pain, every CP patient I'm aware of would throw their meds out in a NY minute.
In this day and age, NO ONE should have to live with chronic pain.
And, in this day and age it's TOUGH to find a "real" pain management doc. Most "pain clinics" are nothing but "block shops"....ESI's and blocks to go. Pffft. I went to a pain clinic...my problem is with my leg. Well, he wanted to give me a back injection! I asked why, there's nothing wrong with my back. Well, since your gait is off, I'm sure there must be. Wrong answer.
The "drug-seeker" and "addict" labels have got to go for our CP patients. Many people classified as "drug-seekers" are just trying to get relief for their pain. It's called pseudo-addiction. We as nurses are supposed to be advocates for our patients.
LindaHP--I'm so sorry about your sister. Was it due to the pain that she OD'd? Or was it accidental? Most CP patients stay fairly stable on their pain meds once controlled...once the right dosages and meds are found. Usually only need an increase occasionally or if their disease is progressing.
Anyway, I know this is terribly long and I'm sorry about that.
If you'd like to learn more, MGH Hospitals Neurology Service, in association with Harvard, runs many neurology related forums...one of which is Chronic Pain. You can get there by going to either http://www.braintalk.org
There's lots of our fellow nurses there who have CP, and there are many many forums. Hope some of you come on over