How the Media Has Failed Us

How the Media Has Failed Pain Patients in Their Coverage of Opioid ‘Effectiveness’

As many of you know, earlier this month CBS News published a study about chronic pain and opioids. The title, as it was locally, was  “Prescription opioids fail rigorous new test for chronic pain.”

I came away with a different conclusion from that particular study: “Krebs Study” Shows Opioids are Safe.

This is a rare longer-term study of a whole year, and it showed that very few developed addiction when opioids were prescribed for pain. 

I’ve been dealing with chronic pain from fibromyalgia since I was a small child. Back then, we didn’t know what it was and, like most people I’ve spoken to who have had similar situations, it was labeled “growing pains.”  

This is how my EDS manifested also. The bizarre and unprovoked muscle pains I suffered in my youth were thought to be growing pains – even by me, with the hope they would eventually go away. No such luck…

Over the years, the only thing that has been in any way helpful in treating my pain has been opioid pain medication and, at one point, marijuana (which I cannot use currently due to a contract with my primary care physician and the cost; health insurance does not cover medical marijuana).

While this study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association initially, the media coverage of it has been misleading at best. In the headlines of the articles, they generalize the key word: “pain.”

That pain alone is constant. It is daily. It is there when I sleep and when I’m awake. It can feel like a painful burning, a tickling that aches, nerve pain, a deep bruise, a pinch, a spasm and so much more.

But, moving along, the media generalized the word “pain.” As I said, this can not be done.

The study was targeting osteoarthritic pain patients, not patients who struggle with conditions like fibromyalgia, lupus, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., etc.

I know what osteoarthritis pain feels like and, while it can make movement difficult, I am able to treat mine with NSAIDS, heat and cold. My chronic pain, however, cannot.

I’m at a point where I am desperate for the media to offer equal representation to the chronically ill and in-pain communities of this country.

I’ve cited my own article with its listed sources and studies (“The Facts About Fibromyalgia and the Opioid Crisis I Wish People Understood”) to my local media, asking them outright, “When are you going to talk to the people who are in the chronic illness and chronic pain communities?”

I have received absolutely no response. I have, however, received overwhelming support in my questions and, through that support, evidence that we are not being heard. We are not being answered. We are being marginalized and ignored.

My deepest fear here is that we will continue to be ignored.

Yes, pain is just not taken as seriously because it cannot be measured or controlled – it’s easier to pretend it isn’t really an issue.

As disheartening as this is, the news media must be held to task for their misleading reports and generalization and marginalization of the chronic pain and chronic illness communities.

I, personally, refuse to look the other way any longer. Every article I see, every report I hear that takes my voice away will be met with a louder, more blatant voice and with the same question attached to it: When will you consider the chronic illness and chronic pain communities?

Author: Mikki is a fuzzy sock junkie. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 20 years, she suffered throughout her childhood with that all-encompassing pain. She is a wife and friend full-time and an author and vocalist in her spare time. Her goal is to help others cope with and be educated about chronic illness. She’s a staunch advocate against apathy and encourages belly laughs daily. According to her, “It’s amazing what a good belly laugh can do for a weakened immune system!”  Read more

Original article: How the Media Has Failed Pain Patients in Their Coverage of Opioid ‘Effectiveness’

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