“A Size 2 Isn’t Fat…”

by nicholmom3 on December 12, 2007

by:  Lettuce Wrap

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can best be described as a pain that lasts long enough, or is intense enough, to affect a person’s normal activities and well being.  It may continue over a long period of time or come and go.  Any area of the body can be affected.  Chronic pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that starts with an illness or injury.  The incoming pain signals trigger specialized nerve cells in your brain to tell your muscles how to respond.

With chronic pain, the pain signals keep firing up the nervous system for months, even years, either continually or as flareups.  In many cases, the response is needless since the initial injury or illness is over.  Or the cause may be an ongoing condition like arthritis, an illness like cancer or unknown.  Whatever the cause, chronic pain often is intractable.  The cause of the pain cannot be removed or treated, and the pain itself cannot be relieved.  Unrelieved pain creates a vicious cycle.  It can make people unable to work, concentrate, socialize, eat properly, or sleep.  That, in turn, may lead to depression, anxiety and frustration, which accentuates the pain and leaves the patient even less able to cope with the normal activities of life. 

Chronic pain is unlike a fractured bone or a severe cut because it cannot be proven to exist in the same way.  Tests can be done, physical exams can be done, but in the end only the patient knows whether or not the pain is there.  Many times patients get pushed aside as being unable to be helped or just unable to be satisfied.  Unfortunately, drug seekers are known to jump on this band wagon claiming to have chronic pain in order to gain access to prescription narcotics.  This causes many with chronic pain not to be believed by physicians who see the increase in drug seekers claiming they have chronic pain.  The emergency rooms are filled nightly with drug seekers claiming to have chronic pain.  Chronic pain is not considered an emergency.  This causes health-care workers to have jaded opinions of patients claiming to have chronic pain.

You Need To Talk To Your Doctor If You Have Chronic Pain

The problem is many doctors are not trained to deal with the complex, changing area of chronic pain treatment.  A survey showed that only 15% of primary care physicians said they enjoyed working with patients with chronic pain.  This makes it difficult to find a doctor who can provide good chronic pain treatment.

A patient has every right to believe that his or her doctor will listen sympathetically and prescribe the appropriate treatment, but that is not always the reality.  This can lead to frustrating encounters at the primary-care level, especially if your doctor is rushed as most are today. 

Increased Pressure On Doctors

Doctors are frustrated by what they can’t “fix”.  Most practices are forced to see a certain number of patients in a limited amount of time.  With something like chronic pain, it is not so simple as five minutes, a few questions and handing out a pill.  It takes some time.  The system is not set up for that.  Because of its complexity, pain management has emerged as a separate, multidisciplinary specialty.  The problem is that most patients need to get to a pain specialist through their primary care physician.

It is important to be clear about your pain and explain the way it impacts your life when you’re talking to your doctor.  Don’t be intimidated.  Stand your ground, calmly.  Then, if you are not satisfied, press harder.  But remember that the most important thing is to create a relationship with your doctor in which you are a team, both looking for the best way to alleviate your pain. 
 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jomay December 13, 2007 at 7:14 am

Its self image that is the problem not our size. A confident woman happy in her own skin is a sexy one! The media’s image obsession is only worth anything if we let it be. So I say sod the media and lets start celebrating ourselves for the wonderful people we are!

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