When left untreated or treated poorly, pain can also cause mental health problems, such as depression, suicide, insomnia, attention deficit, confusion, memory loss, and cognitive decline.
Many times these outcomes are blamed on medication, but pain is a much bigger impairment. Deaths are seldom evaluated to ascertain if pain was a contributing cause.
We know that stress makes pain worse, but look at the amount of stress a person with pain faces almost every day in our society: losing access to a successful treatment, reading lies in the media, losing a provider, being treated like a criminal or drug addict, and so on. This is not stress you can heal with exercise or meditation. It is relentless.
Pain accompanies many diseases or is part of their treatment:
- sickle cell anemia,
- post stroke pain,
- alkalizing spondylitis,
and so many more.
Pain could be a sudden onset of symptoms, such as kidney stones, gall bladder, disseminated shingles, or even an atypical heart attack. It may be the presenting symptom of other problems such as multiple myeloma, cancer metastases, ovarian cysts, torsion of the ovaries, testicles or intestines, and the list goes on.
Refusing to see someone in pain or denying them access to opioids or any treatment which works for them is malpractice.
I could not agree more. Allowing a patient’s pain to continue unabated by withholding available relief seems morally indefensible.
It certainly goes against the idea of “do no harm. ‘
The DEA has become a terrorist organization and many providers are afraid of it. “Evidence based practice” has also become a very loose term. The CDC opioid guidelines are not evidenced based.
Accusing only pain management doctors and patient advocacy groups of being influenced by the pharmaceutical industry is unethical as well, as the CDC, DEA and the addiction treatment industry also receive funding from pharma — including support from drug testing companies.
Prescribing medication which is potentially more harmful than opioids, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, is also unscrupulous. People with a history of ulcers and older adults are being told to take ibuprofen, even though ibuprofen causes 15,000 to 20,000 deaths a year when taken as prescribed. Ibuprofen was never meant for severe pain.
People are being told they must do non-pharmacological interventions such as acupuncture, massage or physical therapy, even though they can’t afford it, it’s not covered by their insurance, or the therapy simply does not work for them.
Doctors insisting on an epidural steroid injection (which is not FDA approved) when it has not worked for someone in the past is also immoral.
There is a strong body of evidence that opioids work, no matter what an opiophobic or addiction treatment doctor will claim.
We have long fought against cook book medicine.
People with pain, whether acute or chronic, need to be considered in the whole, protected from harm, and treated with what is effective and affordable for them. It is the ethical thing to do.