By Krissy Anderson
My comment on recent National Pain Report story: NIH Study Gives Primary Care Docs Needed Evidence to Complement Chronic Pain Treatments
NIH review finds non-drug approaches effective for treatment of common pain conditions
U.S. study reviews trial results on complementary health approaches for pain relief; aims to assist with pain management
Did you read the review? (See References below for link)
How many times have we heard this kind of information? Another “dah!” has been pulled out of dusty old files and put into a review and a press release for our doctors. A press release must contain news. NEWS is an acronym for North East West South. News is something NEW. This is not new.
What did all this reviewing cost?
With that money, I wonder how many disabled people could have had access to the right wheelchair, a service dog, a trip to a specialized clinic far from home? How about helping a lot of sick kids with unaffordable medications, or do something to save a life or two? How about providing funds for insurance toward acupuncture or massage?
I don’t dispute the validity of complementary treatments for pain. On the contrary, I applaud and strongly believe in them. Treatments of this type work the same way as medicine — what helps one person may not work for another. Therefore, more than one therapy may have to be tried. Is your bank account ready for this?
I will assume that most of us would prefer to have alternative treatments like the literature suggest, to taking icky pills or wearing sticky patches. Just think, if we felt well enough to go out, we could be visiting shiny gyms or spas, complete with posters of strong, healthy people, for our treatment and relief! Some complementary treatments — undoubtedly and sincerely in my past experience — indeed helped ease my pain. I wish I could use these therapies now as a way to maybe be able to lower my opioid doses. Unfortunately, complementary and complimentary have different definitions.
Okay, now, Mr. and Ms. Government, we paid for social security, so step up to the plate and give us what you promised. Fix the chronic illness/pain epidemic’s budget and fix our bodies and stop telling us to do things we are unable to do because of your meddling and playing around with our access to treatments. Physically, financially, logistically, do tell us, how do we pay for these therapies on disability or one-income/low-income family salaries?
The “dyed” silver-haired, Oleplexed models in the photos on AARP’s materials exist. Lots of people have money to put toward expensive therapies. Take a survey? I bet most of them are healthier than lower incomers. They are usually happier (proven), can use gyms and spas, go to expensive clinics that don’t take insurance and buy those high-cost, private-labeled supplements. And they can choose to add in some Eastern medicine. All of that would be so great for so many of us! Even some of it would be a start.
Ever-continuing insurance cuts don’t give us any hope that suddenly we’ll get letters that read, “We now pay for yoga, massage, advanced genetic testing, functional medicine, supplements, etc.” Does that almost make you laugh? Imagine getting that letter from your insurance company! What the government wants us to do is what has been made impossible for us to do by the government. Dah!
The level of pain many of us have would still require the use of opioids, but maybe the MED could be reduced to a lower number/lower dose if we could use alternate therapies. Of the 40 million in severe pain, of 127 million in chronic pain, how many have already had their pain meds reduced or eliminated? If all these new rulings, guidelines and limitations (that are just about becoming law in some areas) are going to continue until a shake-out occurs, then something has to change with access to alternative therapies. This article makes me ask, are we are the forgotten soldiers of a war between the “who cares” and the “not cares” in government, or is it the “have brains” and the “brainless?” Contradictions are swarming around the subject of pain and pain management, making ridiculous findings published, filed and “useful” information.
I wish a lot. I wish I could have alternative therapies to help with so many things I know would make me feel better and stronger and allow me to be more active. Why aren’t there “guidelines” for people who are stuck with mobility and other issues to have access to what the government proclaims? Our bodies are getting weaker and sicker without supervised exercise, manipulation and even diet, which all cause more disease, more use of medicines and higher disability levels. If this isn’t a domino effect, I’ll eat my hat, and that particular hat has a label on it that reads, “Dah!”
Oprah Winfrey coined the phrase, “An Aha Moment.” Krissy Anderson has now coined the phrase, “A Dah! Moment.”
Krissy Anderson is a freelance researcher and writer, now specializing in communications for medical practices. She has been living on disability for several chronic conditions since the late 1990s. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The following, particularly dusty, example in the review stood out to me since advances in criteria, disease and knowledge base in fibromyalgia have made significant leaps since 1990.
“All trials we reviewed for fibromyalgia used the 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria, 63 except one 64 that used an older definition.”