Opinion: A “Dah!” Moment

Opinion: A “Dah!” Moment

By Krissy Anderson

Kristine (Krissy) Anderson

Kristine (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 30yearfreelance@gmail.com





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.”

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Authored by: Krissy Anderson

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Your welcome. Now we just need everyone to sign both the petition and send the letters to your local congressman, please. We have to act now. Let your voices stand strong, let them be heard, don’t back down, and always remember BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATES!!


Thank you, Heather. Great work!


Everyone, here is another way you all can help by sending you local Congress a letter. This is crucial and a movement is in place. Just click the link below and submit to congress, scroll and enter your zip code and it will pull up your congressman, the letter had already been written for you thanks to US Pain Foundation so just fill in your information and he sure to submit. Also you may recurve an email from one of them usually a generic one. Ibhaooen to get a different one telling me to call them to discuss the issues and they wanted to learn more so I was shocked. WE have to make a stand, our voices have to be heard. Also on the previous one I posted he sure to check your email and verify your signature for it to count. Thanks. Lets do this….


Everyone please help by signing the person to stop the CDC from banning pain meds for chronic pain patients. The US Pain Foundation is working hard and only a few signatures away. So if you could help, we need to make our VOICES heard. Thanks


Tim Mason: Ha ha. I don’t drink anymore, but if it’s the “poor man’s pharmacy/liquor store,” does that mean your medicine comes in a plastic bottle too?


I thank all of you for your accurate and kind comments. Everyone is right, every statement you made is right.

Now, do you have a doctor who listens? I don’t. I get five minutes or less in each monthly appointment, and most of the last appointment was his show. He was angry because I challenged another medical profession’s blood test, and I was right to do so. He was angry because I told him my pain wasn’t managed. He asked me if I expected to be pain-free! He was angry enough to hurt me, quite obviously on purpose, during the token exam. I spent the night up and awake in shoulder pain because he pushed on a trigger spot really hard, in anger. I spent two days in an ankle brace because he pushed on my foot so hard, then asked me where it hurt. I asked him for physical therapy, he agreed. He forgot to have the order put in. This is the guy I have liked so much, the guy I’ve almost got an interview with, but I’m still working on it (slowly) so as not to scare him away. I don’t dare change doctors — I have no problem getting my opioids and that’s what I need right now but it’s not what I want. I have a problem seeing the professionals I want to see because they don’t take insurance. There are four sides to some stories. We are all thinkers and doers yet I see a problem with numbers when I do my work. There simply are not enough patients who are either aware that we need to fight or care to be involved in the fight. We are overwhelmed by the majority and that’s where I see one of the many problems we have in the inability to “unite.” Some of you have mentioned the other problems we have in the inability to unite. So if that is true, what now?


Ok I read all the stories……so what should all of us do to bring about change for us. Please end your story with a suggestion of what you think would help. I wish we would all do this. Maybe we could get our minds toward working to do something about all of this.


It lays helps to post the emails and telephone number to get people to do start it now. Just a thought .



They government doesn’t have the sane goal as our doctors and ourselves as pain patients. Their goal is to limit if not ban the use of opioids in the treatment of non cancer chronic pain. They’ve used the “heroin epidemic” and “opioid epidemic” they invented and propogandized to set nationalized health care standards and control over physicians and their patients. If the goal was for any of us to feel better the system wouldn’t be the way it is. What’s truly frightening to me is the nationalized standards of care that have crept in the last 8 years. This is unheard of and while everyone is busy debating the “opioid epidemic” the sudden governmental control of doctors and patients is growing unchecked. If you think I’m exaggerating this point just look at the CDC opioid prescribing guidelines. These guidelines are not laws yet they are enforced with jail time sanctions loss of license or prescribing privileges for doctors. It’s a scary time to need treatment or be the provider.


So very true and what I said. We have to make a stand. NOW. Every one needs to start writing there local legislatures and federal government as well such as the CDC, FDA, DEA, and White House. Of they continue to receive enough emails they eventually will have to respond. But it is going to take us ALL to do it. Blow up there emails. I have several times already and I will continue. Let join forces pain world and make a difference. WE ARE REAL, WE WILL FIGHT, BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE, STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS……


The world of pain care has gotten madder and bader then I thought it could get. It reflects the culmination of many years of market fundamentalism combined with poor policies and practices of regulators Its largely functions to serve advantages of producers and not the benefits of consumers. Whilst some professionals in the health care industry call for more freedom for themselves and less government intervention. Its clear they have done little to ensure the public can have meaningful choices-instead there is a confusing array of choices that are hard to assess and give new meaning to the phrase that life is short art is long and judgment difficult.
Government has either deferred to the market fundamentalism or reacted to market failures with rigid authoritarian policies- as with the opioid and now kratom regulations. And government has- like the marketplace- failed to work cooperatively and respectfully with people in pain.
And so a medical consumerism movement(which will require a social movement and rights movement) in pain care makes sense to me given my view of the problems in pain care. People in pain must become the drivers of both regulation and what products and services are developed and made available for their pain. For right now- it is the producers- insurers, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, government- in charge of pain care and will narrow choices and channel decisions in ways that best suit them regardless of people in pain. People in pain need to become the drivers of their care and not the passengers. And the failure of government and researchers to settle issues regarding opioids with their studies or about combining standard treatments with alternative treatments- reflects they don’t care much about people in pain knowing what is the best available treatment regimens for their pain. So our pain care system- far from being perfect or excellent or high quality-is just messy and all too human. As long as providers, researchers, insurers are getting their share of the pain care pie- why should they care about improving pain care so that it satisfies the needs of people in pain? Why make the effort when you don’t have to? It is clear to me the last person served by pain care is the person in pain care- and after doctors, insurers, government, researchers, etc take their piece of the pie- people in pain will get a few crumbs.
Despite all the rhetoric about patient centered, effective evidence based care by the pain care marketplace and researchers- its clear pain care is too often as “nasty and brutish” as Hobbes called the Leviathan. And unless there is a strong consumer movement in pain care- the Leviathan of government and the marketplace will further their interests to the detriment of people in pain.


Great article Krissy!! I totally agree that alternative should be an option and first choice in most cases but this doesn’t always work for those of us who have tried multiple times and failed. Our ins companies need to start covering these alt as well if the government thinks they are going to take everything away and let us all suffer. I’ve written them all as a nurse who is disabled I am disgusted with the healthcare system. It is inhuman, neglectful, and down right abusive in some case especially from the hospitals. Omg another topic. I refuse to go. I told my husband just let me die at home than take me to the ER ever again. They don’t know how to deal with patients who have chronic pain but the problem is when we go it is an acute episode and they look at med list and immediately discharge you to follow up with pain management. My pain Dr sent me once as I couldn’t walk. Lost all control so my husband had to carry me to the truck, then in the hospital and they did no test no bloodwork sent me home within 10 min. I called my Dr boo boo crying scared to death because I didnt know what was wrong with me or why I couldn’t walk all of the sudden at all so he called and ripped the ER Dr a new tail and called me and wanted me to go back and I told him no then I’m really going to be treated like cr*p. So they wouldn’t let us use a w/c or anything so husband went and bought me a walker with a seat at Walgreens in the middle of the night and it was 3 days before I could walk again. It was horrific. Also in Florida we have had multiple people die due to same thing and people refusing to leave, as we know our bodies best and when something is different and wrong, and they call the police on them and they get handcuffed. 1 died and was on the news from PE, another had bilateral pneumonia, and another a blood infection, all lost and gone due to negligence. Right now at this very moment. A 23 year girl whom is my son’s girlfriend moms has cancer metastic all over in lymph nodes and lungs, just everywhere called 911 4 nights ago and they came to the house took her to the hospital checked her blood pressure and said nothing was wrong she is fine and sent her home, next day back in another hospital on a ventilator with bilateral pneumonia and had a heart attack as well 2 night ago. So very sad how we are all being failed. They are the first ones who need a ton of education and then some more. Anyways I could write a book. It is time we all take a stand and make our voices heard. WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL… Read more »

dian lovejoy

Love this post Thankye. . Michael this one is on Gabapentin also, high dosr not quite up t’yon 2700mgs, she feels for ye, she is on Oxycodone, asked her dr if she could take an extra one every few days…response…oooh no that will make your pain worse, lower is much better.cr*p.

Debra Wallace

That is good they find non drug treatment works for some. People in pain have tried all they can to help themselves. They didn’t all work for me. I would utilize some of the treatments but they are not covered on insurance. Could not even afford a copay if they were.

I wish so much that there was a medical recourse to fix my spine, but there isnt- so instead I suffer. I could no longer afford to go every month to Dr and pharmacy and felt as if I was a criminal having to give urine screens and contracts. I was even sent to the clinic physiologist to accept nothing can be done to ‘fix’ me. So, now I survive with limited activity. Of course my primary Dr was overjoyed that she no longer had to prescribe options but never acknowledged thathat not only did I not get better but instead got worse. Spinal issues include lumberization born with- adult onset scoliosis starting early 30s which now has one hip an inch higher- serious stenosis both in neck and lower spine- nerve impingement and bone spurs all of spine- possibly 3 discs that haven’t rupteted- 3 discs sit on spinal cord in neck ( they say don’t fall) and just to make it even better- I have mild RA- sjrogens and fibro- life sorta sucks-

Kurt WG Matthies

Thank you Krissy. I enjoy your writing.

I imagine that many non-drug treatments are effective against many common ailments.

Have you heard this one?

Patient: “Doctor, every morning when I get up out of bed, I feel terrible for an hour.”
Doctor: “Then wait an hour before getting out of bed.”

Recently, while prone on the procedure table, I was expressing to my pain doctor my frustration with the recent CDC chronic pain treatment guidelines.

She told me, “well, there is pain, and then there is pain.”

Her cryptic sentence made perfect sense to me.

Twenty-five years ago on a business trip, I suffered a miserable episode of idiopathic low back pain. Every movement caused a sharp pain that ached long afterward. I don’t know what caused it. One moment I felt fine, and the next, severe pain.

After an uncomfortable trip home, I consulted my doctor. X-rays were negative. Physical therapy was ordered and complied with. I also tried ice, heat, chiropractic adjustments, yoga, massage, acupuncture — nothing helped.

At the time I was using the lower grade opioid medications to manage the pain of a chronic neck condition — codeine, Darvon, etc. These medications had absolutely no effect on my low back pain. Neither did OTC NSAIDs, Tylenol, the white willow bark prescribed by the chiropractor, nor any other remedy.

There was no help for it. My doctor recommended a regular dose of exercise, and referred me to that great healer: Time.

He was right. One morning I woke up, and the pain was gone.There was no explanation for it, although losing 10 pounds around my middle probably helped.

Many Americans suffer this kind of pain. I’ve read that most visits to the doctor involve low back pain.

This was not chronic pain, but an episode of idiopathic pain.

The first step in solving any problem is creating a careful definition of that problem. What problem where these researchers looking to solve?

I believe that one answer to our current confusion around the treatment of chronic pain can be found in a better definition of the term, chronic pain.

Patient, bending backwards to look at the ceiling: “Doctor, every time I do this, it hurts.”
Doctor: “Don’t do that.”

Jean Price

Isn’t it weird…and absurd…that for years western medicine denied and discounted the appropriateness of other therapies besides their own brand of “fix it” medicine and their narrow medical philosophy?! And now, DAH, it’s exactly what they tell us we need and should use…INSTEAD of the time tested and proven effective medication that helps us be able to pursue other therapies…like PT or massages or acupuncture!! Or even have clean underwear and help with meals!! How did we become such an “either or”society instead of a “both things are true” health care system? If this is good, then this has to be bad, right? No, a big NO on that way of thinking! All things in moderation have a place in the care of those with life limiting pain! And until the governmental and personal greed and the media’s sensationalized rhetoric stops, we have little chance to make our voices heard above their powerful, albeit deceitful, message that all opioids are bad!! Fighting this in the public arena may get us more bang for our bucks, since most people fear pain and don’t have a clue what is happening to those who live with it daily…and yet that’s part of why we have become such societal and health care lepers!! No one wants to think about or treat or consider pain…by history, pain has always defeated our doctors and been misunderstood and literally condemned by a society that exalts the “no pain, no gain” motto!! Families, friends, even those who are ALSO IN PAIN have no clue to each individual’s plight and struggles with pain. Even we who live with pain lose our perspective sometimes and have to remind ourselves we are not lazy or defective because we can’t accomplish what others do…we are just simply in pain that limits us every moment of the day. I would once again hold up the need for a coalition of individuals and agencies and professionals who would join together and divide up the areas needed to be addressed in changing the face of pain and the treatments of those who live with it! Until we can all share and work together without egos and territorial behavior, we stand little chance of making an impact with our slingshots….especially since we are facing several Goliaths in this fight!! A coalition is an alliance of like minded people and agencies working to achieve a common goal…appropriate pain care would be ours! The “war” language, the mere mention of addiction, and all the other phrases and words both our nay sayers and we ourselves use only serve to pull us farther apart and farther from achieving the goal of being able to effect change as concerned, compassionate, responsible and knowledgeable people! People who also just happen to live with the stigma and the ugliness of pain on a very personal basis! Structuring a group that would invite and welcome ALL people and groups who are interested in quality care and respect for those in life limiting pain… Read more »

Doc Anonymous

I must say that most of my patients utilized some form of complementary treatment at least as part of their journey through non-interventional pain management.

Thank you Krissy for this great post and comments on the article.

Doc Anonymous

A good number of the studies in this NIH, MAYO Clinic study involve acute pain rather than chronic pain. The issues of managing CHRONIC pain are more complex than those affecting acute pain. After all, the majority of episodes of ACUTE pain are self limited and resolve within a short time of resolution of the inciting event.

Some of the studies excluded anyone with “legal” issues, meaning that people with work injuries, injuries from motor vehicle accidents and people applying for disability were excluded. The people who are excluded are the ones who stand to lose most from forced to use complementary treatments as the primary treatment.

when I retired, the average duration of pain among my active patients was 15 years. Only a few studies on the benefit of Yoga approached this longevity of pain among the people included in the study. The implication is that these studies do not give a realistic picture of the true nature of these complementary treatment of CHRONIC pain. Most people with truly chronic pain in the past have been treated by physicians like myself who limited their practice to chronic pain patients. But as more of us retire or are forced out of practice as targets for the war on pain patients, there are fewer and fewer doctors willing to treat the chronic pain patient.

One other point about these studies, the patients who have truly disabling chronic pain generally have pain rated on level of 6/10 to 10/10. For most of my patients, a “good” day was almost universally rated at a “6/10” level. For most of the studies, the pain scale ratings were in the 4/10 to 5/10 level, with the Yoga studies showing an average pain scale rating of about 7/10. Once again the studies included in this report do not reflect the status that I have seen among people with truly disabling chronic pain; and those numbers seem to be reflected by comments by pain patients that I have seen on the internet.

You can find these numbers in the supplements that are published online. The links provided in the article itself only go to the home page of the article or the Table of Contents of the issue of the Journal. The actual tables are hard to find but this link may help:



Being a board certified surgeon, in possession of an university acquired specialty Certificate in Pain Management, a member of the American Academy of Pain Management…(the first to push for interdisciplinary pain management), and now a chronic pain sufferer, I concur! I saw many patients, who had no insurance. Yet, I was judged because I treated the patients with the cheapest form of effective therapy available to them. Using the interdisciplinary approach would have been great. But…it was not practical! Most could not afford it. The closest thing to it came from my office. But, I, alone, could not do any more than I did. I did consult many others. But, it was less than desirable. The consultants loved to change the therapy without consultation. Or, even worse, tell my patients how bad my treatment was for them! Most of the time the consultants were ignorant of the proper use of opiates Cooperative consultation is the hallmark of interdisciplinary care. It was almost impossible to attain! I was not impressed with most pain management physicians. (I have had nothing but bad experiences with them) Considering they came out of the specialty of anesthesiology, they seemed to be the least versed in taking care of complicated patients!

At the present, I am getting fair relief from my peripheral neuropathy, associated with a post-traumatic cauda equina syndrome. But, that comes at a trade-off. I am at the maximum dose of gabapentin. I have had awakened, from sleep, with several problems that seem to be associated with the neurologic medication. Am I being treated with a more dangerous drug because the doctors are afraid to use adequate doses of the much safer drug…one of the opiates? If I could get treatment with interdisciplinary physicians, I would likely be much better off. Thing is, living in a small town in rural US. that is not available to me. Pain management seems to be self serving. ( I had one write Medicare telling them that I had exhausted all forms of therapy when I had not. He was jumping at the bit to put a dorsal column stimulator in, ignoring several risks that he would be taking with my life!) All they are doing is getting rich off of chronic pain patients, whom they are inadequately treating!

But, that is “standard of care!” Isn’t it?!!


We need to take back our country .

Katie Olmstead

Totally agree! Every point, right on. Reminds me of all these helpful friends who say, “but have you tried…..?” Are they crazy? We have all tried everything, everything we could afford. If insurance covered more alternative therapies, we would all be adding them into our personal treatment plans. Duh.

cliff macway

The government will always strain a nat hand have everyone else swallow a camel!! Chronic pain patients are being treated inhumanely!!

Deana McKenzie

Right on, Krissy!

Mark Ibsen

Thank you Krissy for a funny and ironic review of the obvious.
Obvious to US.
Many are blind, and prefer blindness.
The scales shall fall from their eyes…


You have it so right Krissy. Sadly what all these studies do is,as you stated, show us how much we as people in pain can’t access and that the government is willing to spend a lot of money to show us that!


Its the social control state- government has become fascist-as has medicine as they abandoned free choice. They dont like people in pain making choices- they want to make the decisions for people in pain. And doctors- for the sake of convenience- and because they never cared much for people in pain- are doing what is expected- going along to get along with the new fascist state in pain care.
Im glad to see some people see the fascism in pain care for what it is and are starting to act in support of their own rights. Its a shame pain care has degenerated to such a degree- first as tragedy then as farce. But given the long history of neglect in medicine and government for pain care and ttheir poor treatment of people in pain- i expect worse is on the horizon.
LIke i have said before- its up to people in pain to change pain care- for we see how careless, clueless and cruel government and medicine has become.

Tim Mason

They missed one. “The poor man’s pharmacy” aka “The Liquor Store”