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Epidemic of Pain

I have been a chronic pain patient for 20 years, although because my pain is controllable with the weakest of opiates, I am in the minor leagues.

My husband is a major league player. He has failed back syndrome. Nothing has helped. His pain skyrocketed this year, so we have been desperately seeking a compassionate doctor and ANY treatment possible. While visiting various pain clinics, I have met other pain patients…many of them, like my husband, living at the absolute margins of society. And I keep thinking to myself that, because these people are NOT out and about, because they take medicine that has been vilified in the press, because nobody wants to talk about this epidemic of untreated pain, these people are invisible to society.

Anyway, these experiences were the inspiration for Painopoly, in which I imagine life as a board game…the object of the game is to collect your month’s worth of pain medicine when you pass GO, rather than $200.

I’m lucky. My pain is under control and I am able to function as a working mom and wife of a disabled person. (Not saying I’m terribly good at any of it, but I’m doing it.) Because I have been handed this fortune (of adequately-managed pain), I feel obliged to raise awareness of the plight of chronic pain patients. To put a face to these silent sufferers.

So my humble hope is that my posts on chronic pain will:

  • Resonate with other chronic pain patients and family members
  • Help educate the public about the plight of chronic pain patients
  • Help to end the discrimination faced by pain patients

More Information About Undertreated Pain


4 Responses

  1. Undertreated pain is part of the whole invisible illness issue. Getting folks to believe in chronic pain is a big endeavour, I wish you luck with your campaign/crusade! It is a topic that needs good press (not the negative media on the few that abuse the meds, or the rare doctors who knowingly overprescribe for resale purposes). Invisible illnesses have to be made visible; voices have to be heard. I’m glad you are willing to take up this challenge!

  2. Sometimes I feel like a lost voice in the storm, so it is great to have an ally such as you, Phylor! I am encouraged to discover the wonderful world of chronic and/or painie bloggers.

    There are also some excellent advocacy groups, such as the Massachusetts Pain Initiative (http://www.masspaininitiative.org/). Because of the MassPI, all state health profession licensing boards have adopted pain policies and the Governor declared September “Pain Awareness Month.”

    Thanks for your support & comments!

  3. I recently had surgery for back pain – 2 fusion, one at L4-L5, the other at L5-S1. I interviewed a lot of surgeons and found one that looked at my ENTIRE back as opposed to the area of interest. Post surgery, I am PAIN FREE; well, except for the Fibro stuff.

    You have to be your own advocate when you are in pain – I was using a walker, and now I can show and go anywhere all day without pain.

    This surgeon is in Sarasota, FL. I am sure you can find out in your area. Don’t take the pain – make SURE there is nothing else that can be done.

    Hope things go better….wishing you luck.

    • Thank you Robin. I am so happy to hear the surgery went well for you. It is wonderful to hear success stories! I doubt I could ever talk my husband into going under the knife again. So far, no doctor has given him a good reason to do it.
      Good luck with the fibromyalgia, and happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (May 12)!

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