A couple of recent stories on the National Pain Report have elicited some strong reaction from those who visit our news website.
The first story – which we ran on June 4 – highlighted a Time Magazine story on pain killers. Suffice it to say our readers weren’t too happy.
The second – which we ran on June 11 – highlighted a talk that Terri Lewis Ph.D gave to an International Pain Conference in Chicago where Lewis argued that patients and providers need to work together – and she had a sense that maybe things are starting to change for the better.
First, some reaction from the Time Magazine story.
Most of it was critical because the readers, like many physicians we’ve spoken with in recent months, think that there are two issues – one is addiction and the other is chronic pain – and they have been blurred into one: addiction. The result? Chronic pain patients who use their medications responsibly think they are being branded unfairly.
Stacie Tessman thought the article was one sided:
“This article show just one side of the problem” she wrote. “There is terrible misconceptions regarding the medical field and it all goes back to big money and big pharmaceutical companies getting what they want.”
A woman who identified herself only as Hannah wrote:
“I think the article missed the mark. This is an epidemic, but it isn’t the patients that are monitored by their doctors for chronic pain that are the problem. The problem is doctors prescribing narcotics and then the patients don’t take them as prescribed and/or the doctors don’t follow up.”
Amy People thinks we have a pain epidemic, not an addiction epidemic:
“I am 34. So many of my friends that I grew up with are in chronic pain. It’s always either back problems of fibromyalgia. I don’t doubt their pain, and if their doctors were to cut them off they would probably turn to heroin just to numb their pain. What I don’t understand is why so many people are in so much pain? What have we done to deserve this? I don’t know what fibromyalgia is exactly, but it appears to be dreadful. What is causing our bodies to turn on us like this?????
Carissa Simao’s reaction was a concern about those who are addicted and those who suffer from chronic pain:
“I would love to see something done to stem the addictions but without punishing those who rely on these medications just to have a life worth living.”
Dr. Mark Ibsen of Helena, Montana has a story idea for Time:
“Let’s also note: there is no evidence that suddenly dropping people who have been treated with opioids is useful either. So study THAT and get some data. Please”
Secondly, the Terri Lewis story from Chicago which talks, as she often does, about the medical care model, which she believes is broken to the detriment of Both doctor and patient. She thinks change is possible.
The readers were hopeful, if not a bit skeptical.
Wrote Shannon Walker
“It also surprises me that we’ve gotten to a place where pain patients are being so marginalized and doctors are not standing up for themselves.”
A reader who described himself as Dr. Anonymous (we’re guessing that’s not his real name) thought Terri Lewis’ comments were spot on.
“Kudos for Terri Lewis!!! An OPEN dialogue is much needed. But at the present time I fear that doctors are much too fearful to engage in an open discussion. Doctors have not been able to band together because of threats (and actions) from the federal government claiming that it violates antitrust laws for doctors to band together.”
Dena Meeks noted the high burnout rate that Dr. Lewis discussed.
“This is an interesting article and I was struck by the high rate of burnout among pain specialists.”
It was a reader named Juli, a woman who lives in Portland Oregon that caught the optimism of the Lewis article.
“Finally! Somebody gets it. This needs to be addressed country wide…Not state by state.
I just hope I’m still alive to be part of the reboot. Right now my pain management is
under managed. I’ve suffered 34 years and am horrified that care is going backwards!”
These are just some of the reactions the two stories have received. We invite you to comment on our work – we review each comment and publish many of them.
Also, as always we are anxious to hear your feedback not only on stories we write, but stories you think we should be covering.
Let us know by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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