What the Pain Acceptance Movement Misses

Because of the war on opioids, there has been a stronger movement to take chronic pain patients off of their pain management medications. Instead of managing pain to raise the quality of living, patients are being urged to take Cognitive Behavior Therapy classes and daily meds that only work some of the time at reducing pain, if at all, and can have horrible side effects and withdrawal symptoms. We are supposed to accept our pain and be okay with it being a daily presence in our lives and NOT have any negative emotions because according to CBT, our unresolved emotional issue are the cause of our chronic pain…….. let that one just sink in for awhile……We are just supposed to accept that the rest of our lives will be filled with pain and that it is basically our own faults that we are in that pain. (I’ll leave that CBT theory on pain for another post, as it is too much to cover here, but wanted to mention it because it is part of the replacement coping mechanism doctors are forcing at us.)

Its not just the war on opioids that is the cause, but some studies that have been done that have tipped the scales. These studies show that patients with chronic pain who have used opioid pain pills long term have been shown to not improve in their pain level and that sometime their pain even worsens. Wow! Imagine that! A pain pill that is not supposed to cure anything in the first place, didn’t! I am so shocked! Who comes up with these studies anyway?!

Pain meds were never suppose to heal the body of illness or injury, whether chronic or acute. Pain meds are used to make a patient comfortable! Pain meds are there to make their quality of life better, whether for a short time while their body mends, or for the long haul so that a person is not in more pain than necessary. People that have chronic pain are now facing the prospect of having little to no resources to ease their persistent pain. Living in chronic pain without pain meds when you need them is a prison sentence. You are living but you don’t have a life!

Not all people who use opioids are addicts. For many it is a life line: a means to work, to socialize, to gorcery shop, to play with your kids, a way to have some normalcy, to regain a part of yourself for a little while, the you from before your chronic pain went and changed everything.

I know there needs to be ways to assure people don’t abuse these drugs and the system, checks and balances, but it can’t be at the cost of peoples lives. If this blog makes it around by some miracle to the people who make policy, politicians making these big decisions, perhaps all pharmacies have a network and IDs are swiped whenever opioid are picked up so that abusers cant go and get various prescriptions filled from multiple doctors (that is a thing apparently.) It is already in place a believe for certain OTC drugs that can be used to make other illegal drugs. We could extend the same principle and make it so that people can only get pain meds from one authorized doctor at a time. (Its an idea anyway, a work in progress.

Doctors: can we be open and honest with one other, without judgements. Yes, we often are seeking drugs. No, it is not to abuse them but to try to salvage some sliver of normalcy in our lives. We want to be useful and maintain a little dignity!

I’m gonna flip the tables a little. You break your leg and go to the ER. They do X-rays, possibly surgery, and place the hurt limb into a cast until the bone can mend. What else? They are sent home with pain killers! But wait! I thought option pain killers were dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Why is this type of situation different? Maybe a better question would be, why do doctors treat these situations differently?

We know that with anything in the body that needs to mend or heal, the body can do so within 3-6 months. It doesn’t take any longer than that, and this is the demarcation line between acute and chronic pain. These terms have nothing to do with severity of pain but with how long it lasts. Now if someone who is in chronic pain (remember that’s 6 months or longer) can be expected to just accept their pain, why are these same pain meds given so freely to acute pain patients (i.e. Broken bones, surgery recovery, kidney stones, etc.) Their pain will last 6 months tops so why can’t they just tough it out? Because we don’t want people to suffer unnecessarily!

Now then the real question is, why is our suffering, that of those with chronic pain, different? What happened to do no harm? Are we not people too, who deserve to have our suffering eased when possible, especially since we have so much more pain, even the definition of chronic pain demands that we have already suffered longer! Why do we just have to accept it?! There has got to be a better way forward!

How do you feel about the war of opioids? How has it affected your life?

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