By Kerry Smith.
This will be one of the more controversial posts I have written on the National Pain Report but I have to write it. I know that my words will create anger amongst many of my pain suffering friends but still, I have to write about what I am doing to manage my pain which by the way is working.
I truly believe that our goal as sufferers with chronic pain needs to be to walk as far away from pain management doctors as possible. I know, the alarms are already sounding right now as you read my words, but it is true, isn’t it? How many pain management doctors will look you in the eyes and say to you, my goal is that you become cured of your pain? I haven’t heard it. I am betting you haven’t either. That is why they are called pain management clinics and not pain cure clinics. But as long as you and I are a part of their income packages, we will not be getting a cure. So let me tell you a story and then what I am doing to manage my pain.
My body was struggling with the level of pain meds that I was on. I was having problems breathing. My gastro system was giving me fits. I was taking 15 mgs of oxycontin three times a day and 10 mgs of hydrocodone for breakthrough pain. I was a walking zombie. I told the doctor in this one pain management clinic that I was having some difficulties but it went in one ear and out the other. I had picked up Beth Darnall’s book “Less Pain/Fewer Pills” and started absorbing it. I started on my own, without the assistance of the Pain Management Clinic I was seeing at the time, of reducing my pain meds. I shared with the doctor that I was reading this book and this is word for word what she said:
“It is a good thing that more of my patients are not taking their pain management more seriously because if they did, I or my husband would not have a job!” Her husband was a pharmaceutical sales rep for cancer pain medication.
Two streams of thought occurred here: she and her husband needed pain patients for a job and by taking our pain management “more seriously” apparently we would not need a pain management clinic, thereby creating a new unemployment line. “More Seriously”? That phrase has stuck in my head now for some time. So did they know of something that we could do where we would take our pain management “more seriously? And why did Dr. Darnall’s book cause her to make such a statement? Could it be that there is a knowledge base that exists that you or I are not being told about which could result in a cure without the use of pain management clinics?
So I changed pain management clinics.
The federal and state governments haven’t been much better. They continue to focus its denial of pain medication to folks who really need it while pain management clinics have been eerily quiet. Why haven’t they come to our rescue if indeed they believed that more pain pills are exactly what we need?
We go to their practice monthly, to have our pain pills counted, to pee in their cups, to be herded in and out of their offices like cattle, while insurance and we pay for a lifestyle we don’t want.
Take my pain management more seriously?
I wake up in the morning and put on a belt of the strongest magnets that are made. I have reduced my pain meds from the time of being a patient at the previous clinic by 75%. I am reading everything and anything on the concept of brain rewiring. It seems that when the disease of chronic pain hits us, it changes our brain. You can work to change it back. The term is “neuroplasticity” and it describes the brains ability to change and it is entirely possible to change how much pain we feel no matter the injury. You may not know this but your brain produces opioids yet it is more financially advantageous for pain doctors to put you on manufactured opioids or to do other things like nerve blocks or whatever else is out there to try on us rather than helping us to increase the levels of opioids that are in our brains AND manage our pain ourselves.
Do you know that, whether you are 8 or 80, it is possible to rewire the brain filled with pain so that there is less pain? Mindfulness activities such as meditation can actually change your brain to the place where we start to feel less pain? Did you know that by walking, you cause the brain to grow, to make more cells, to make better connections between our brain cells, which convey to our brain that we are in less pain?
I have had 25 different procedures over the years. Many of you have had many more.
Too many of us have not been educated or even encouraged to find these other alternatives.
So today, in this month recognized as pain awareness month it should be “alternative, factually proven, non-pain doctor and non-pain management clinic where we take our pain management more seriously than going to a pain management clinic” month.
Please, do not take my word for it. Rather than someone to define the dynamics of pain for you, take your pain more seriously and start a journey, the same journey that I am on, where you begin to read about the facts of our pain and work to live a life of less pain.
Here are some books that I am reading. They’ve helped me. Hopefully they can help you as we all try to become more self-determinant in dealing with our chronic pain.
Childhood Disrupted; How your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa (evidence suggests that our disrupted childhood creates biological paths of higher pain receptivity). This is one great book friends!
In addition to the book by Dr. Darnall I mentioned earlier, she’s also written The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit by Dr. Beth Darnall (she includes a meditation cd in her book which I use two or three times a day).
The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge. This guy gives tremendous examples of people who have it way worse than most of it but the brain actually can heal from whatever happens to it)
Pain Free for Life: The 6 Week Cure for Chronic Pain-Without Surgery or Drugs by Scott Brady, William Proctor (This is written by a doctor who had chronic pain and he discusses how he overcame chronic pain).
www.quadrabloc.com is the website for the company whose magnets I use. These are the strongest magnets on the market.
Do not think for a moment that I am cured.
I am not.
I am heading in a direction where I can better manage my pain through tools that do not require a script. I am just plain sick of it friends. I am sick of the way you and I are being treated and that we are not being given all of the facts of our pain management. A recent article in the National Pain Report was written by a medical student who asked the question why doctors are not given more classes on pain. I know the answer. It is because if you knew the story behind pain, you would not need to visit them for pain relief thus taking your pain management more seriously, thus making pain management clinics obsolete.
Kerry Smith is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report. The Tennessee artist and chronic pain warrior has been open about his battle with chronic pain. Today’s column seems like a fitting way to end Pain Awareness Month.