Don't blame people for their pain, report says
June 29th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Don't blame people for their pain, report says

Chronic pain – no matter where it strikes – is a problem not many of us really understand.

It can sometimes be dismissed and not effectively managed by health care professionals.

Pain is widespread, but underdiagnosed and undertreated, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine.  The independent, nonprofit organization that gives advice to decision makers and the public focused on pain as a public health issue.

Its committee on advancing pain research, care and education found that much of people’s pain is preventable and could be better managed.

"Their suffering is not something they should be blamed for or something they’ve made up," said Philip Pizzo, chair of the committee, about people who are in pain.  "In the absence of knowledge, there’s an attribution of blame.  Education needs to play a role in that."

The committee reported that pain management training is lacking and that more programs for specialist in advanced pain care are needed.

It also asked for better data on populations at risk, characteristics of acute and chronic pain, consequences of pain and other trends. Treatment doesn’t always have to be drugs – as surgery, behavioral interventions, psychological counseling, rehab and physical therapy are also options.

From the report, here are some pain facts:

– $560 to 635 billion – the amount spent each year in the United States in medical treatment and lost productivity
– 116 million – the number of American adults who experience pain
– 5 medical schools – out of 133 medical schools in America, only five have required courses on pain
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and opioids are the most common agents for relieving pain
– 60 percent— percentage of women experiencing their first childbirth who rate pain as severe
– 26 percent—percentage of Americans who report low back pain lasting at least a day in the last 3 months
– 2.1 million— number of annual visits to U.S. emergency departments for acute headache (of 115 million total annual visits)

soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. mitzi

    I have been suffering for 7 years with spinal stenosis pain. i can no longer get any use out of steriod shots in my back. i have avoided laminectomy and fusion due to its low success and long recovery. i find that there is a treatment called x stop that would be perfect for me and i am happy. alas, it was short lived. my insurance, humana, will not pay for it. i wish i could just end my life, but alas, i have a nine year old child to raise. i just want to be free of this pain.

    June 29, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geoff

      @mitzi ... try the laminectomy and fusion, in that order. My laminectomy would have worked if I didn't produce so much scar tissue. But I do ... so I had fusion 5 years ago (L4-S1) and while I do have pain and you probably always will, too, the quality of my life is immensely better. I, like you, put it off until I had thoughts of ending it completely ... I almost lost my right leg function due to nerve impingement. I waited slightly too long as my calf has partial paralysis. Don't keep putting it off. Fusion may have lots of complications but they are far better than no treatment.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • Harold

      I have had two fusions( very successful) and two laminectomys that were so so successful. Don't know where you live but my spine surgeons were the best in my state and it showed.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • San

      If there is anything that might alleviate your pain, even somewhat, please listen to what this other poster has advised. I feel for you tremendously, and I am sure it is emotionally hurtful to you to not be able to enjoy your child the way you would if you had less physical pain. I am so sorry for what you have been experiencing. Please know that other people care.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      @Mitzi I really hope you come back and read all these posts. I lived with severe chronic pain for years and noone could pinpoint the source of it. I tried everything. At 25 I considered seriously ending my life because the pain was so bad. Eventually, my chiropractor, of all people, recommended I see a Neurologist as he had seen some L4/L5/S1 damage on the xrays and I wasnt getting any relief. The damage that had been done to my back was so severe that I had to have the Fusion. It was THE BEST thing I ever did. I know that not every surgery is successful, but as someone else mentioned, the break in the constant pain cycle allowed me to become me again. I still have pain some days, and I have trouble with my right leg from all the nerve damage but I am a totally different person.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • spm422

      Please go see a neurosurgeon (not an orthopedic) my back surgery was the best thing I ever had done. the pain was so bad prior to it. Once I got through the PT afterwards my life is sooo much better. Hopefully you live in an area that has great medical options, if not go seek out a specialist in a larger city (chicago, NY...)

      June 29, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Rider3

      Dear Mitzi, I had the laminectomy back in 2002. I knew it worked when I awoke in recovery! After 7 years of debilitating pain, you should think about this surgery. Good luck; my thoughts are with you.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • doc

      WIthout knowing what your MRI looks like I couldnt tell you if you needed surgery, but if they are willing to due surgery on you then its probably should be done (depending on how old you are). if your spinal cord is being compressed you should have it done as soon as ossible because the pain will likley get worse and you could lose function of your legs, bowel and bladder, If you don't have cord compression and just have pain, have you tried any of the anti-epileptic drugs (gabapentin, lyrica) or anti-depressant drugs(nortryptiline), they work extremly well for neruopathic pain

      June 29, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • John Johnston

      Check out less invasive surgery options at: http://www.spineuniverse.com/

      June 29, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • donklinestiver

      If you don't smoke have the laminectomy fusion in 48 years of practicce no smoker got better really. Numbness and weakness of the legs make it necessary.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • krispy kritter

      dear mitzi, please dont even consider ending your life! i fell through an airplane hanger ceiling and was in constant pain for nearly two yrs. my L3 L4 L5 vertabre were damaged and i tryed everything,injections,rhizotamy,therapy...finally my pain management dr. sent me to a surgeon dr. papaconstantiou. he performed a spinal fusion on feb.14th of 2011. iam nor gonna lie to you, the first two weeks were unbelieveably painful, but now it has been 4 months and iam totally amazed at the improvement! iam still not totally healed as ia a smoker, but please check into it, ppl need you here,and the relief i have gotten is trully amazing!! good luck to you and god bless. hermit 🙂

      June 29, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • Inphinity

      Pain can destroy your life – as so many of you have experienced. There needs to be a common sense approach to pain treatment which it seems that many legislators do not understand. I have seen too many doctors afraid to prescribe legitimate pain medication to their patients, even when it is medically appropriate, being in fear of being targeted by law enforcement. It is not the fault of law enforcement – they are doing their job with no real guidance because it is not their job to be doctors or legislators, but to enforce the law. The reality is, addicts will use ANYTHING they can to get high, from sniffing paint thinner, to abusing medications, to licking toads. There is simply no way to remove all the things from an addict's environment that can be used to get high, yet this is what our legislators are trying to do, and in doing so, also prevent a large number of people with chronic pain issues from receiving needed treatment to continue to lead productive, independent lives. Addiction education and treatment is the only hope for addicts and the choice must be theirs. Addicts choose to continue their addiction, but those living in pain do not choose to live untreated. I often wonder if legislators or other people who peddle the idea that anyone receiving pain treatment must be an addict would do so if they had to walk a mile in anyone's shoes who have lived with chronic pain.

      June 30, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      There are lots of treatments for pain and if you want i will advocate for you to get the treamtment you believe in. I have had success in getting nys to have legislation on pain care and am knowledgeable about claims denials and appeals.

      July 2, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • nicky

      i suffer terrible arthritis in my shoulder and back, I don't like to take too much medication or use chemical enhanced products believing they only create more problems down the track. i have found a wonderful product called NATURAL HARMONY it is made with all natural products including essential oils and natural mineral salts, it is Australian Made and non greasy so it's great before bed and under my clothes, on the bad days it may not eliminate the pain however it takes the real harshness off reducing my pain from say a 8-9 down to a 2-4, i'm also told some people use it on their pets who suffer arthritis also, I have found the more I use it the better it works, any way hope this helps you like it has helped me and believe thousands of others, oh their web site http://www.florentinegold.com.au

      November 27, 2011 at 22:09 | Report abuse |
    • Dan Bosh

      Mitzi,I've had spinal stenosis diagnosed and it got so unbearable I got a emergency laminectomy ,my leg was numb and very painful ,my back was hurting so bad I cud only moan the drs don't help much they won't give u meds strong enough to help,their misinformed,anyway after the operation I felt better almost immediately and it's getting better everyday it's only been 7 days ,I also had a disc worked on .I don't take painkillers I'm back on my Suboxene .Maybe you should consider a laminectomy it worked for me, I never even gave it a thought as to whether I wanted a operation ,the pain was so bad I would have let them do anything.good luck.

      December 12, 2013 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  2. killallthewhiteman

    I went to the doctor the other month with mass amounts of fluid buildup in my knee. It was so painful that I could barely walk. The doctor told me to stay off it and sent me home. They thought I was lying to get drugs. Pretty embarrassing for me and I may never go back to the doctor. I am still in pain to this day and I go through a bottle of Aleve every week. I am sure that is really not healthy for me but it beats being in pain.

    June 29, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Barbara

      You should absolutely find another doctor; one that will take the time to find the cause and treat it. There are bad doctors just like there are bad everything else. Good luck to you.

      June 29, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • kk

      hopefully you just busted a bursa sac in your knee. They can are painful but over time heal up with a wrap and lots of ice through out the day

      June 29, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • kw1223

      Find another doctor and get off the aleve. I have kidney damage from taking too much ibuprofen. Kidney damage is irreversable.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • CK2B

      I had a similar thing 10 years ago, could barely bend my knee, couldn't walk and the pain was incredible. Turned out to be reactive arthritis, and they gave me suppositories for the pain. Man was that a relief. Cleared up in 2 weeks, and slight pain stayed for 2 years, but I took chondroitin/glucosamine and it improved that immensely. You should find a doctor that listens.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • NateFromIndiana

      My arthritis started like that, and it took months before specialists could narrow it down to my present diagnosis. The thing that eventually wore me down was not being able to argue with the insurance company that refused payment on treatments, but if you give up in the first month after one unsuccessful doctor visit I'm not sure what to tell you. My first swollen joint was 20 years ago, and since I'm disabled now you can guess that it hasn't been a whimsical road of healing and recovery for me. There's no guarantee that doctors can immediately cure or even figure out what's going on with you, and I understand how that can be frustrating. Slowness to prescribe pain medication for the condition isn't fun, but in the long term if you don't given them time to figure out what's causing the swelling the outcome can be even worse.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Your doctors hould be required to obtain education in pain care and treat it seriously. An orthopedist or rheumatologist should provide better care- sounds like you might ave synovitis-and that should be treeated seriously

      July 2, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  3. Unimpressed

    It would be lovely if doctors used their knowledge to relieve pain and suffering. Instead, if you go to a doctor with "pain" as a symptom, they don't want to help relieve that symptom while they treat the overall problem. Alternatively, they assume you're hunting for pain meds like a druggie (making it all up), and ignore the other symptoms. What's the point anymore?

    June 29, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ruth

      The point is to treat the problem so the pain will go away. The less pills you take the better off you are. You should be grateful.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • Andacar

      I know exactly how you feel. I've had serious pain problems with polycystic kidney disease and now after (thank God) my transplant it's problems with the anti rejection medicine. My doctor is a very good one, but I always feel he thinks I'm fishing for hydrocodone. I've stretched out a bottle for over 6 months!

      June 29, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • Alli B.

      I totally agree, i get pain, and my doctor gave me medicine, but when I had to take it for my pain, he scolded me and said that the medicine is for severe pain, but why give it to me if I only have moderate?! It's just frustrating and stupid. It made me feel like he didn't trust me.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      I've spent a small fortune on doctors, treatments and medications to treat chronic cluster headaches. The doctors give me medicine, but grudgingly, and tell me not to use it unless, you guessed it, my pain is severe. My pain is severe every single day without the medication, what do they expect from me? It's been like this for 27 years now. They can help me not to be in pain, yet they aren't willing to do so. Eventually they'll make it so I will have to look to acquire pain medication illegally. 27 years of this is enough. I could have paid my mortgage off with all the money I've wasted, instead, I'm paying medical bills after losing my home to foreclosure!

      June 29, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • CFS Facts

      Amen! Doctors attributed my pain to being divorced, no need to do x-rays, just hand her anti-depressants (which made me sicker). When I asked for pain pills instead, they verbally abused me. They weren't even embarrassed when a chiropractor did x-rays and found 3 fractured vertebrae, they just made excuses about how they didn't want to turn me into an addict. Apparently when I said the pain was so bad that it kept me awake till 6 AM before I finally fell asleep out of total exhaustion, then couldn't function at work because I hadn't slept more than an hour or two before the alarm clock rang, they chose to understand that I was sleeping 20 hours a day and didn't want to work.

      June 30, 2011 at 01:16 | Report abuse |
    • Still Unimpressed

      I should be GRATEFUL, Ruth? Seriously? You have no CLUE what I'm talking about. I'm not referring to pain reduction for a temporary condition that can be fixed. I've got rheumatoid arthritis. No, they can't "fix" it. They can only treat it. And even with treatment, I've had some horribly painful days.

      So, no, I'm not waiting for them to fix it. This condition, like many others, is only a disease that can be MANAGED. Part of the management is about quality of life, and a huge part of quality of life is keeping pain under control.

      Stop making assumptions about people. I've had broken bones and never even took a tylenol for those. I had knee surgery, took one dose of the vicodin they prescribed me on just the first night, and didn't take any more. Those were things that I just needed to wait for them to heal, and the pain wasn't bad. But when your joints are swollen and all you want is for the pain to ease off enough so you can walk comfortably (I was a half-marathon runner before this, and I still exercise, doing low-impact exercises), then why is it so unreasonable to want your doc to help with pain relief?

      June 30, 2011 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      THe point is continue to try to get better-and then help others. I too had an "incurable" pain condition-and went to many doctors- i found a cure and now i help others

      July 2, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Angela

    I have suffered with spinal stenosis for over a decade and I am now recovering from my second back surgery. I have been on opiods for years prior to having surgery. I have also done every alternate therapy that my insurance would cover (shots, chiropractic, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, etc). Nothing "cures" my condition, and the medication is my only true solace. Even that is not enough some days. It has only been a couple of months and I am still recovering from the surgical pain and it is too soon to tell if it has been a complete success. No one understands chronic pain unless they have lived with it themselves, even our medical professionals do not comprehend the physical, mental and emotional toll this pain takes on an individual. Before my first surgery I contemplated taking my life because the pain was so severe. I do not know if this surgery will alleviate all of my pain and I pray every day that it will. More research is needed to understand patients who are in pain. Every time I hear about regulating prescription drugs I fear I will not be able to get pain relief. I have suffered for years before my insurance carrier would agree to pay for my surgery. I have had to try every form of alternative therapy and fail before I could have someone go in and fix my back. Even if the relief is only temporary it is a relief to not wake up in excrutiating pain every single day. I remain optimistic through all of this because I have a wonderful support system around me. Pain is an illness in itself just like any other illness that requires medication, understanding, and more choices for treatment.

    June 29, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Random

      Get a Compex Sport Elite. After using it on the regenoration setting 8 hrs a day for 6 monts, I went from being as bad as any of you and back to being an extreem atholete.

      June 30, 2011 at 04:59 | Report abuse |
  5. rtbrno65

    What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. T3chsupport

    Next time I go to find a primary care doctor, I'm going to ask for their oldest one. Any of the younger ones any more have no idea what they're doing. They have the nurse do most of the work, come in and ask maybe 2 questions, then they either prescribe you something right there, or they go search on the internet for what to do. I might as well just stay home and WebMD it myself since that's all they're going to do. They aren't there to treat diseases, they're there to prescribe medication (which they get kickbacks from), as quickly as possible to get the next patient in and out. Or they refer you to a different kind of doctor, so your visit to them that you paid for was worthless, and now you have to pay even more to see someone else.

    Best health care in the world? Yeah right. I can't believe anyone believes that anymore.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spm

      they do not get kickbacks – that is highly against the law!!! I am a pharma sales rep (FYI) Maybe back in the day that is how things were done but nowadays we are not allowed to give ANYTHING any longer or not only could my company be fined highly I would lose my job!!

      June 29, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • LeeVA

      You need to do the research and find a doctor who is willing to look at what you have found and brainstorm the various potential problems that could be indicated by your symptoms. There is no doctor, young or old, who knows everything. You should be thankful if you have a doctor who is willing to take the time to research your case on the internet.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • Canadian

      You can't honestly believe that ANYONE has thought that the US has the best healthcare in the world in at least the past 20 years?
      Not saying Canadas healthcare is great either, but it's better. The Europeans seem to be getting closer MUCh faster than us in the West...
      I actually have a similar problem. Except instead of treating the the underlying problem CAUSING my pain I just get "well take some tylenol" or prescribed more painkillers.
      The only perk to Canadian Healthcare is that it's free, cheaper overall, and available to everyone. I know that's better than nothing (and a hell of a lot better than the crap deal you guys get in the US) but this just isn't enough, not when you have to wait over a year to get surgery in most cases, up to a year to see specialists (which is where any and all family doctors will send you if you have anything other than chronic pain or the sniffles), and god forbid you have to go to the emergency room and are not dying. Make sure you free up 2 days for THAT wait.

      And as for the naysayers of legalising Marijuana, get real. You can't deny it works as a painkiller, and at least you won't get liver or kidney problems that you'll get from tylenol or aleve!

      June 29, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Several years ago my HMO assigned me a primary physician who had yet to see her 30th birthday. We had a rocky beginning, but she did finally come around to seeing me as a whole person and not just a set of symptoms, which is exactly what I told her she was doing. Young doctors can be taught, it just takes patience (or patients? 😉 ). Older doesn't always mean wiser. You just have to convince them that even though they're the doctor, they aren't necessarily smarter than you.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • Meme

      If Canadian health care was better then the Prime minister wouldn't have come down last february for heart surgery. Then thousands of canadians wouldn't cross the border each year to come hear for care. You wait 3-6 months in canada for ultrasound tests, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine and anything else that requires an expensive machine. Do you really think the government will by 10 MRI machines for a geographic area that will support 3 and a waiting list? Did you all already forget Katrina? Gulf coast oil spill? TSA screeners searching 5 year old children? THE HOUSING CRISIS and consequent recession? THE GOVERNEMENT IS SLOW< FULL OF RED TAPE AND HAS TOO MANY REGULATIONS AND RULE S TO RUN EFFICIENTLY. Canada only has 33 million ppl. We have over 300 million, so we are 10 times the buracracy! I work in the health care field. I know both sides from doing this for almost 2 decades. Canadiens and most other ppl who grow up in socialized medicine DONT KNOW ANYTHING ELSE, so of course they think their country is the best and greatest. But we actually have the best health care in the world. We have the worst diet, fat fat fat obese pp, sedentary lifestyles and yet we are only behind the socialized medicine countries in life expectancy by a couple years at most. Those coutries walk more, eat less and have less fat ppl. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WITH THAT?

      June 29, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Meme, some of us HAVE experienced both systems. My family is from Canada, but I was born in the USA. I've experienced the Canadian health care system, and most of my family members live with it. I'm stuck in the American "system." My sister, also American, spent almost two years in England while getting her Master's degree. The conclusion we all reached from our experiences with all three systems? The American system is complete garbage unless you're rich or are lucky enough to have top-notch insurance.

      June 30, 2011 at 08:49 | Report abuse |
  7. Dee

    I had chronic pain due to 2 herniated disks for about 3 years. It was excruciating, but my regular doctor and her chosen neurologist never took me seriously–just said keep taking NSAIDS and doing PT, surely it wasn't that bad, and they were NOT going to write any RX for pain meds. I finally found a spinal/ortho specialist on my own at a local teaching hospital, got surgery within 3 months, and lo and behold, I was a new person! People told me I had color in my cheeks for the first time in over 2 years. He was very good about post-op pain management medication (and also pre-op in the weeks before surgery), and I made a great recovery within 6 weeks (immediate changes–and off any narcotics in 3 weeks) to full fusion in 6 months. Just the break in the pain cycle worked wonders, and of course, the root problem was solved as well. Moral of this is–if you are not getting adequate care, look for a 2nd or even 3rd opinion. Consider pain management specialists as well. Chronic pain is a terrible terrible thing, and I hope more folks start taking it seriously in the near future.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sam

    Smoke pot, has healing powers and eases your pain. Don't knock it if you know nothing about it!

    June 29, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denizen Kate

      I have ulcerative colitis and chronic, hereditary migraines. I was damaging my kidneys from over-use of ibuprofen, but now I use cannabis on my bad days. People shouldn't knock it if they haven't tried it. Pain can be so debilitating.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
    • TheTruth72

      It's the devil's weed.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • TheTruth72

      @Denizen Kate....I have ulcerative colitis as well. I'm not too sure how bad yours is. I take 9 pills of colazal a day, an enema at night. And remicade treatments every 2 months. I can function like any normal human. When I used to get bad flare ups, I remember how bad that pain was. I'd get so nauseated I would vomit. I would still never take cannibas though.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • TheTruth72

      Oh, and whoever told you to take Ibuprofen was completely wrong. And if they never mentioned to not take it, that's bad too. It is a bloodthinner and is not good to take when you have something like ulcerative colitis. I usually stick with tylenol for headaches and alieve for joints when I run.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      @TheTruth72, I take nine pills of asacol per day, probably similar or the same as your colazol. I also take an immunosuppressant called mercaptopurine. I haven't had a flare-up since 1997, but I do have some crampy days, and I also have migraines, so the cannabis helps tremendously. Maybe you should try it. It's very effective for nausea as well as pain.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
  9. Tessa

    It is unfortunate that preventive care is not covered by insurance as pain is often a symptom of an underlying condition. Then when pain becomes chronic, doctors are reluctant to treat it with pain medication out of fear of being sued, fear that the patient will become addicted or fear that the medication is being misused (which for some it is) and who can blame them? Unfortunately, that leaves many with a diminished quality of life as chronic pain is very debilitating. I agree with Angela, few people really understand chronic pain unless they have lived with it. This article points to a need for our medical schools to provide more education for doctors and as patients we need to better communicate our needs.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. K

    Thank you for your insightful input. In the future, please leave the real conversation to the adults.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mel

    i have been suffering from chronic pain for 4 years now, since the birth of my daughter. after 3 years, i was finally diagnosed and i now have an answer for the pain. however, there is no cure and i continue to suffer. people don't even want to hear it anymore. they look at me like they want to avoid me for fear i'll talk about my pain. no one understands what it's like not being able to sleep in comfort. i am only 36 years old and have rare occasions of feeling well. when i see people complain about small things, it annoys me. people have no idea how horrible it is to suffer from daily pain. and i love the people who preach to me about popping pills. really? i could be popping A LOT more pills than i do. i take them only at night because if not, my good 4 hours of sleep would be closer to 2. people with chronic pain have to continue to function as normal – i have to be up at 5 a.m. for work, handle a 2 hour commute, be a full-time student while working, take care of my 4 year old and do all of the other things that life expects. i feel for ANYONE with chronic pain! most days, i do not even remember who i used to be. it's horrible.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      I can't agree with you enough. I wake every morning in pain and go to bed every night in pain. Even my pain medication causes me pain, hearburn, stomach upset, bruising... It has totally changed me. My temper is always short because I'm always fighting against swollen joints and muscle aches to do even the most simple of things. I'm starting to feel sorry for my husband for being married to a royal b**t c h like me. And don't get me started on the fatigue associated with this fight. Dr's blame that on depression. Well no s h*t Sherlock. I can't function any more! I'm going to lose my job AND my marriage to this disease. Any 'normal' person would be depressed about that. When I was deciding if I should put my elderly cat down, the vet asked me if I felt if she had more bad days than good. When I answered yes, he told me it was time to put her down. Makes me think.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Chronic pain eats you up like cancer. You just waste away..................

      June 30, 2011 at 01:00 | Report abuse |
    • denvervet

      I have a lot of pain. The problems with people is that they cannot "see" the pain you have. Get used to people not wanting to hear about it, they feel helpless and its a downer subject. It took me a LONG time to realize this. You probably look healthy as heck and that's what they can relate to.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
  12. Kay

    In 2001 I saw a general doctor and mentioned that I thought I had a pinched nerve. He told me I had spasms in my back and gave me some pills. They didn't help. 3 years later, I was having pain in my wrists and numb arms by the end of the work day. I saw a gen dr, an orthopedic dr, a neurologist and more gen drs – 7 doctors in total – because the first SIX of them sent me away without a diagnosis nor any pain treatment. A couple of them treated me like a was either looking for pills or just plain crazy. The 7th doc gave me an MRI. I had a herniated disk, a bulging disk and degenerative disk disease. Even after this diagnosis, I had to fight the dr for 2 weeks to get some pain relief. Which turned me into a zombie. And, I was scheduled to see a surgeon. The whole experience over those few months really turned me off of traditional medicine. I reluctantly turned to chiropractic. THANK GOODNESS I stuck it out and could stand up straight and had pain relief within a matter of months. I still experience some pain but haven't needed any pain medication over these years. I do still have treatments every 3 months or so but I'll take that over surgery, pills and ignorant doctors. Kay

    June 29, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • spm422

      Your pain makes my back cringe sitting here!!! I am so sorry your journey was so bad. I guess I was lucky to have the GP I had -he ordered the MRI first, we sent it to the neurosurgeon that week and my surgery was the following Monday. I wish I had gone to see the doc soon, instead I tried everyother alternative out there -which ended up being a waste of money and time and LOADS of pain (for me) I learned the hard way. Had I spoke up sooner (in hind sight I don't know what I was afaraid of) had I , maybe I would not have suffered so long.

      June 29, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  13. San

    Shut up and have some compassion. If you consider yourself a person of God, you are quite delusional

    June 29, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Paul Tauzin

    I would venture to guess that improper pain management might be the result of several factors. Our government's war on drugs has many thinking that pain relief medication is a person's weakness, and will lead to addiction. Many doctors are concerned about becoming the subject of a law enforcement investigation if it is even thought that they have perscribed too many pain relief scrips. As the article noted, people who are sufferring are often stigmatized as being weak, with addictive personalities. I am afraid that as the baby boomers age, severe paiin may become an epidemic.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      Absolutely. It's rampant in my state. Doctors, fearing for thier livelyhood, will not prescribe pain medication unless you are under surgery or have major wounds. If even an appearance of giving someone relief who "ain't strong enough to take it", the narcotics cops will be at the front door. Sadly, that forces people with pain to hit the streets and medicate without supervision – whcih means makes the addiction rates worse. Great place we live in, huh?

      June 29, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Appalled by the ignorance

      Ironically enough, those with chronic pain DO NOT become addicted to pain medication! There have been a number of studies done on this. Unfortunately, we have celebraties, who do not have chronic pain, who take these meds and kill themselves with them. This gives them a bad name for all the rest of us who truly need them. It is so frustrating. You would think that doctors would understand this, but most do not. I have had a great deal to do with the medical profession as the primary care giver for my dying parents and sister as well as, being a sufferer of chronic pain. I am currently a member of a major healthcare organization "KP", considered a "model for the nation" and it is shocking the amount of ignorance I have found with the doctors there. I requested to see a Pain Management Specialist and was instead directed into a Pain Mangement Class. It was 8 weeks, 4 hours per week. That was a lot of hours learning, not much. Almost everyone in the class had suffered pain for years and they were telling us nothing we had not heard before. Most of the information directed us to classes available AFTER this one finished! They did in fact confirm that people in chronic pain very rarely become addicted to pain medication. I still can not see a Pain Management Specialist, as apparently this healthcare system does not have this type of specialist. Instead, I have been directed by to my Primary Care doctor (who does not understand pain meds AT ALL nor does he understand chronic pain) who will continue to prescribe my meds. I take the least amount possible, it is actually quite rediculous. I have offered to sign an "Opiod Agreement" and to take random urine tests as I have at my last two Pain Management Specialists, but they do not do this. Instead, they prefer to treat you like a drug addict. I find it so insulting and frustrating. I understand more about pain meds then do their doctors as I have had to do the research for not only myself, but for my Mother who was allergic to morphine (talk about a horrible situation and a complete lack of understanding by the doctors). This problem is widespread and needs to be addressed by the AMA and our medical schools. Our doctors swear "to do no harm", yet they harm people every day by not treating them correctly and with respect. Until this happens situations like we see in these posts will continue to happen. I remember a woman I worked with about 15 years ago who was suffering from Fibromyalgia and in tremendous pain. She ended her life because her pain was unbearable and she could find no one who would help her. This was before I began suffering myself from chronic pain, now I do understand how someone could get to such a point and I find it very sad that those who swear to do no harm were unable to help someone from harming themselves after they begged for the help over and over again. I keep hearing from these posts that people just want the doctors to LISTEN!!! I know I do.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
    • Appalled by the ignorance

      By the way, "KP" also wanted everyone in the Pain Mgmt Class to see a Psychologist (which I normally have not problem with and would recommend everyone do so at least once in their life :P). Did that, was raised by one, saw no further value in it, as the pain is in my back and is not coming from my head! I am not choosing to have the pain and if given the choice, would choose NOT to have it!

      June 29, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
  15. Sam Washington

    I completely agree with this article

    June 29, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. physical vs. psychiatric pain

    The worst chronic pain of all is psychiatric. No MRI, CT or blood test will ever show the disturbed biochemistry and ensuing misery and no opiate or NSAID will ever help. No one will ever understand this pain and people are afraid of any psychiatric diagnosis. Death is the only answer. All you people with chronic physical pain, think thrice before blowing off someone who has severe depression or schizophrenia. There's no pill for that and no relief.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ApplesandOranges

      I don't think it's fair to compare psychological and physical pain because they are both very unique and can be devastating in their own unique ways. My physical pain from severe rheumatoid arthritis leaves me drained and keeps me from doing things I want to do. I am a high school student in advanced classes with a 4.0, but when everyday is a struggle to even get up and nobody your age seems to understand your pain, the difficulty of dealing with the pain increases. I am not trying to delegitimize your pain, but please don't act like life is perfect for sufferers of severe chronic physical pain.

      July 1, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
  17. billblast

    Back in 2009 I started having very achey and sore joints as well as sore muscles. I felt so ill I couldnt even get out of bed because of the pain. I became so sick I had to leave q

    June 29, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. It's Not Just In Your Head

    I have been in chronic pain since my early 20's. I've been to dozens of doctors, specialists, PT's, etc. with absolutely no relief. I was an athlete in high school and college with my share of sprains and strains, but it was nothing compared to the ongoing and ever increasing pain I feel each day. I'm 50 and find myself becoming more reclusive every day because it is a challenge to get up in the morning and go to work. Friends do not want to be with people who can not enjoy life. Going for a walk in the woods, swimming, bowling, golf, biking – don't I wish.

    Listen people, it's not in your head. This is real pain and completely unexplainable. The medical profession has yet to learn any bedside manner when it comes to chronic pain. It's push the pills and call me in a couple of weeks.

    All you others out there suffering – keep your head and heart in the game. You are heard!

    June 29, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Marathon Sweetheart

    wow, I'm really sad to read this story and all of your comments. I wonder if there was anything that happened (trauma, a wreck, accident?) that caused the pain or if it's just unexplainable for each person?

    June 29, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AJ

      For me, my pain was caused primarily by a disease (endometriosis and adenomyosis), the scarring that came about due to surgeries to treat that disease (which is the only truly effective treatment option right now), and from fibromyalgia, which I believe I wound up with because I suffered so long without real relief that my body went into shock. I now have immune system issues as well, and so I am always sick and/or in pain. It's very difficult. Many of us do have an actual physical diagnosis, but that doesn't always matter to doctors. We still get treated like addicts, and this on top of being in so much pain makes it very hard to cope.

      June 30, 2011 at 01:01 | Report abuse |
  20. david

    The IOM has no vision or plan to lower the prevalence of pain. They refuse to call for requiring docotrs to have education in pain care- its the same old top down medicocentric plan that has failed to help people in pain in the past

    June 29, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. MSfrom CA

    This article doesn't really talk about addiction to pain meds. I have two sisters-in-law with serious back problems. One fights using pain pills every day for fear of addiction – the other is seriously addicted and has to break the law to get the pills she needs (doctor shopping, multiple prescriptions, etc.). This is a big problem. At some point the Drs just throw you out – they can't give you the prescription you need, and rehab just leaves you with the pain.

    June 29, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denizen Kate

      Buy them each a bag of cannabis. Works for me.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  22. gonecountry

    Whatever you do...do NOT get spinal fusion done. It was the worse decision I ever made in my life. I now have scar tissue so severe that it causes horrible pain not only in my back, but all along my left leg. There are days it is just too painful to get up, but I just keep going. I have been getting injections and transforametals, but they no longer work. Next week I will be trying the rhizotomy and pray that it gives me relief for long than just a month. I have 3 beautiful grandchildren, with one more on the way, that I would love to enjoy life with, like going to the zoo. I can only walk about 10 minutes before the pain is so bad I have to sit. I just want to be able to enjoy the little things in life with them.

    June 29, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Byrd

    Pain is probably the most ill-treated condition in America today. Pharmaceutical companies only want to sell drugs they can patent, yet these drugs are more addictive than heroin with far more detrimental side-effects. Doctors won't even prescribe opiates because they're afraid of the backlash. When you're in pain, all you want is relief, yet all the pharmaceuticals want is your money. Given the choice between oxy-anything and Demerol or morphine, I'd choose the opiates any day because they're far easier on the system. and far more effective in pain relief.

    June 29, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Agreed

      Again, as was stated above, there is such a lack of understanding. I was taking morphine for my back. I was prescribed the meds during the day, but it made me so sleepy I was not able to function at work so I start taking vicodin instead. I took two vicodin a during the day and then two morphine at night (one when I got home and one at bedtime). The morphine gave me tremendous relief and enabled me to sleep. Then suddenly after taking it for a year or so I suddenly would get then severe stomach pains in the middle of the night (like a 15 on the 10 scale!) which would last about 20 minutes. The first time it happened I thought I was dying! I did not realize it was the morphine until it happened several times. It was very irregular. I asked every doctor I met if he/she had ever heard of this happening and none had ever heard of this. Finally, I did research and discussed it with my pain managment doctor and we determined it was my pancreas sphyncter of odus (sp?) spasming from the morphine. I continued to take the morphine and for a while then stopped when I ran out and put up with these symptoms because I was getting pain relief from my back and leg pain (by the way the only side effect from stopping morphine was that my pain increased...so much for being addicted!). I had to finally ask my doctor to increase my vicodin to 3 a day so that I could get sleep at night and not wake in pain. When I changed doctors I told them I had been taking morphine and they looked at me like I was crazy! I asked to increase my dose of vicodin to 4 tabs because 3 did not cut the pain for the evening and night. It was like I was asking for a morphine drip! I had to explain, that infact, I was getting "tolerant" of the vicodin, but that I had in fact CUT BACK on my meds and the meds were not now enough and that I was suffering for it. I find it so inexcusable that this level of stupidity is even alive in the medical field today. I remember I went to the emergency room for a gall bladder attack, while I was on the morphine. I was very straight forward about the meds I was taking. The acted like I was there to shop for meds...for goodness sake, I had a month supply of morphine and vicodin at home, why on Earth would I go the emergency room and ask for more, much less tell them I take those meds! The doctor even said, I doubt this is your gallbladder, but he grudgingly gave me pain meds in an IV. I went for a sonogram and he came back in with the results with such a surprised tone and said that in fact it WAS a gallbladder attack! Well DUH! Jerk! I was not asking for him to prescribe meds!

      June 29, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
  24. David

    Hey, can you all do me a favor and visit HelpFaye.ORG , its about a friend fighting for her life... Peace..

    June 29, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. DrB

    As many people have already stated most doctors are not adequately trained in pain management which I agree with. If you are suffering from chronic pain that is affecting your life I suggest that you seek out a physician that has subspeciality certification in pain medicine. They typically are board certified in anesthesiology or physical medicine with additional training in pain medicine. They will have the best knowledge on how to treat pain with medications, injections or surgical techniques. Many of these options have minimal adverse effects. You can find out if your doctor is board certified on http://www.abms.org

    June 29, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AMEN!

      If you are suffering from chronic pain, do not waste your time with your general medicine, internal medicine, etc. doctor. Go straight to a Pain Management Specialist. If necessary, request that you be sent to one by your regular doctor. They do understand Pain and pain medication. This is a field of medicine and there are doctors who understand it and will take you seriously without treating you like a drug addict. You might have to sign and agreement, take spot urine tests, etc., but so what, you will get the treatment you need. They do not just give pain meds, but they do other procedures., BUT they also give you the paid meds you need without making you feel like a drug addict. Big difference! Just don't ask for one at Kaiser...they don't exist!

      June 29, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Unfortunately there are few pain specialsts in the country-and we all know why- medicine still doesnt take pain seriously- even though it is related to increased morbidity and mortality. Doctors mos timportant interest is to be free to practice medicine as they wish-and the results are clear- people in pain are mistreated and receive poor care and are often mistreated by doctors, Its time we made doctors much more accountable and require a lot more education- they ve been riding on the backs of American society for too long-and providing poor medical care

      June 30, 2011 at 07:01 | Report abuse |
    • dave

      The problem is pain specialists arent well educated either- last year the AAPM met with the AMA because they felt the education of pain specialists is inadequate. We have a medical profession which is slouching toward bethlehem and lacks needed determination and ability to tackle todays health problems- and especially problems in pain care. We need a new workforce that is more capable of meeting the needs of people in pain

      June 30, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  26. NotADruggie

    It is too bad marijuana is still illegal in most places. It would help a lot of people. Instead, we have to pay to go to doctors, with the burden on us to convince them that we truly need help, and then cough up dough to the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies. All this when there is a remedy we could grow right in our own gardens. (Disclaimer: I don't use marijuana. Fortunately I am blessed to not have any chronic or recurring pain. Using marijuana just makes me feel stupid and then I fall asleep.)

    June 29, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheTruth72

      So many people don't think of the consequences when they say things like "marijuana should be legal". Look at the problem with alcohol and how many people die every year from drunk driving. Think of how many more deaths from people that abuse marijuana and then go and drive. Legalizing it is not needed.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      @TheTruth72, cannabis doesn't make you stupid like alcohol tends to do. Cannabis users generally stay home, watch movies, and order a pizza. Those like myself who use it now and then as a treatment for chronic pain do so only at home. We would no more go out driving under the influence than if we were taking prescription opioids. You've been reading or listenening to too much anti-cannabis propaganda. You call yourself The Truth, but someone has been lying to you.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
    • TheFour

      @Thetruth- So...I assume you're drunk right now then...and you're a chain smoker as well. You're afraid that when cannabis is made legal you'll be compelled to do it? Oh, wait–none of the above because your veiws are based on ignorance. We need to shift the mindset here from the War on Drugs–which failed a long time ago, by the way- to the War on Addiction. Drugs are bad. But I know plenty of people who responsibly enjoy a few alcoholic beverages every now and again with no problem. In fact I'd venture to say the majority of alcohol consumers aren't alcoholics. Instead of treating addicts like criminals and locking them up– which only makes them more efficient addicts–we should be treating them as though they are sick. Because addiction is a public health issue. Legalizing all drugs is NOT a white flag surrender, nor is it a green light to get fitshaced. If we fought addiction we would win. The drug cartels would lose their drug revenue they use to buy guns (from the ATF apparently). We'd save tax dollars from no longer fighting the war the wrong way and we'd make tax revenue from recreational users. Monies could be reallocated to give addicts the help they really need from medical and psychological professionals. The police/corrections jobs, instead of just being eliminated would be reallocated to THE BORDER. I know it sounds radical but it really is the only way we're going to actually win.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  27. Robert Bell

    Medical arts, not a science.

    I have suffered from chronic for years. I use to take ibuprofen until it stopped working. I went to my orthopedic DR. He was very sympathetic and tried injecting me with steroids most of the time the results only lasted for 6 to 8 weeks and they can only be given every 4 moths. MY GP referred me to a pain specialist who did an tens implant, i had to have a laminectomy to do it didn't work. so I went to the university pain clinic. they gave me a long list of things to try. It took me about 2 years of trying their recommendations. One of the drugs put me into kidney failure, i almost died. There was a nurse at the hospital who decided I was faking it and chose not to give me my usual pain medications. So I was not only in pain, I was going through severe withdrawal. Finally my GP put me on a Fentynal patch which helped tremendously. I still have to use vicodin for break through pain but things are so much better. The patch is great, you can't tell your on it, there are no side effects and i'm starting to cut back on the hydrocodone. I understand that there is a new drug
    (a patch) that has no barbiturates. The insurance companies don't like it because it;s expensive, some refuse to pay for it.

    June 29, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Della

      Wait, I cannot fathom it being so srtigathforward.

      October 9, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • aazrdtr

      sKvS0I fapbrdqmungb

      October 10, 2011 at 04:49 | Report abuse |
    • kxnfvnljwsp

      zaFDjF ipfnsnmzlrlf

      October 12, 2011 at 06:13 | Report abuse |
  28. someoneelse

    Some people have real, unbearable pain, but most of you are wimps who wouldn't be able to handle real stress or pain if it came up. North Americans are weak.

    June 29, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • someoneelse

      The drug companies want you to believe you are in horrible pain though!

      June 29, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • Arick

      Oh look, an Internet tough guy. I'm sure you have toughed out real pain in your 13 years on this planet.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      @someoneelse from somewhereelse, you're a he-man tough guy, I can hear your knuckles dragging from here in North America. Pain is relative. It can be excruciating or simply constant and annoying. It can go from one to the other and back again. The consequence is that it wears you down if left untreated.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • So Sorry for you

      I am so sorry for you. I certainly hope you never have to go through any pain or suffering. If you do, I hope you are met with more empathy and caring then you are giving to everyone here. You sound as though you are very young and immature with a great deal of growing up to do. I hope you don't have to do it the hard way. Karma is a $itch! Good luck to you and I will pray for you.

      June 29, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
  29. Arick

    My doctor is great, he has never treated me like a drug abuser. I injured my back as a child and it has always given me trouble. Most days I just have minor pain, but when it goes out (about maybe three times a year) it is debilitating. When that happens, he does not hesitate to write me something for the pain. He actually cares about his patients. He rarely takes new patients anymore since he has so many life-long patients.

    June 29, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Glen

    Fighting Stage 4 lung cancer. Pain is a way of life now, VA gives me hydrocodone and I eat them like candy. If it wasn't for the compassion of my co-worker, friends and family, I would most likely be dead now. I know pain, and drugs can't always help.

    June 29, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Not strong enough!

      Glen, you need to tell your doctors that hydrocodone is not strong enough for the pain that you are feeling (it is barely strong enough for my back pain). I do not understand why they are not giving you something to better handle your pain. There is no reason you should have to take so many tabs. Ask for morphine or a combo of meds. No excuse to suffer, especially with stage 4 lung cancer! Do not be afraid to take charge of your care. Tell your doctors what you want. Just because they are doctors, does not mean they know everything. As you can see from all of the comments here, many of them are quite ignorant, especially when it comes to pain. Take charge of your care. Be strong. Tell them. Insist that this iis what you want. If this doctor will not give you what you want, insist on another doctor...even at the VA! I will be thinking of you!

      June 29, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
  31. Denizen Kate

    The article briefly mentions the consequences of pain but provides no details. Here's one: chronic pain wears your body down, causes you to lose sleep, weakens your immune system, which in turn causes you to catch every little virus going around. Also, if you're tired all the time from fighting pain, you're not very productive.

    June 29, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Evasears

    I have suffered with spinal stenosis for years. Orthopedist concluded nothing can be done except surgery and "he doesn't recommend it". OK. I get through life on pain meds all day every day – fortunately I found a pain clinic that prescribes for me. I have sense enough not to abuse these pills but I don't think I could function at all without them.

    June 29, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Meme

    I think most ppl are sympathetic for pregnant women, even though they did choose to have the pain (no blame them). 2nd, most ppl with back problems have been overweight for years and lack of exercise combined with the weight have been a major contributor to their pain. Its not blame, but when we don't take care of ourselves, we shouldn't put all of the burden on society to rescue us. As of 2010 64% of Americans were overweight and 41% were obese (up from 39% in 2009). WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS CITIZENS? If 48% of Americans don't pay any Federal taxes (24% make enough to have to file but get it all back, and the other 24% make below the minimum) and almost half are extremely overweight do we wonder why health care costs skyrocket and why the medical community can't rescue us from all of our bad habits?

    June 29, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. someoneelse

    Our society is weak. We allow the weak full protection from everything and allow them to breed. I'm not just talking about people who always cry about 'pain' (considering most of the world doesn't have pain meds or throughout most of history) but about all aspects of society (intelligence, etc). We are dooming the human race. Yes, I know I'm evil, blah blah blah, but I actually care about my children's futures (and the future of the human race). The only thing that will save us from our current 'help everyone' society is genetic engineering.

    June 29, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Go AWAY!!! NOW!!

      For God sake go away! No one wants to hear your theories about genetic engineering, much less that you are breeding! You clearly have no empathy or caring for anyone but yourself. The world is a poorer place with people like you in it!nGo find a conversation where people want to hear your garbage! Please, it would be a favor to all of us weak human beings! Leave us to our suffering. Oh by the way, I am betting that most of us weak human beings have done, seen, and contributed more to this world then you and your spawn ever will!

      June 29, 2011 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
    • Go AWAY!!! NOW!!

      By the way, the fact that most of the world (now or throughout history) does not have pain meds (or any type of meds for that matter) is not in their favor. Many places have a life expectancy of 45, so before you start touting how great it is that these places tough it out, think about how much they suffer before they die at these young ages. I know, I have lived there!

      June 29, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • I_Pity_You

      I am a high school student who lives with pain almost every day of my life. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and when the pain is at its worst, I can't even walk. I don't take any type of pain killers, just the anti arthritis meds, but sometimes I need a little compassion to get through the day. You obviously have never had to deal with pain. I am a 4.0 student, and I participate in many extracurricular activities, serving my school and my community. I do my best to give back, and I expect that the people around me will at least be able to show some sympathy when I am in too much pain to walk. As soon as you actually experience real pain for the first time, you will realize how wrong you are, and that people in pain can be just as productive as other members of society.

      July 1, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
  35. Amanda

    I have lupus which can cause severe joint pain. When this first started, the doctor I saw claimed that I just wanted pain pills. I hurt so bad that I could not walk. Luckily, I have a fantastic husband who carried me to another doctor. The problem is that the pharmacies all assume everyone is an addict. Even when you have a valid presc. from one doctor, they assume you are abusing. It is getting to the point that I do not want to fill anything controlled because it is demoralizing to be looked at as an addict when really you just need them to live. Those who need them cannot get them, and those who abuse can get anything they want. Where did we go wrong?

    June 29, 2011 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. NewSel

    I was in a wheelchair & on narcotics for 2 years. I had a spinal fusion and recently had a neurostimulator implant for back pain. For me, it was & is a God send. I am a young 38 years old, except for the 1 doctor that took time with me, all the others would just tell me to deal with it or that there was nothing wrong. Although I still take the pain meds, I only need them after "over doing it". I can now walk, drive, cook, & clean. I no longer want to take my life, I now embrace it!

    June 29, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Frank

    I have a severe back injury and suffer from chronic pain. Most doctors will NOT treat pain properly. They are frightened that you will become "addicted". I was finally treated at a pain clinic and given Methadone 20mg/day and it was like I had a new life.

    Chronic pain takes over your life and then turns into depression. Methadone is the best pain medication I have ever taken. There is NO high or euphoria, the pain just leaves your body and your head remains clear and you can go about your daily life. That is one of its main dangers, young people get their hands on Methadone and think they will get high from it (there is no high) and then they take more because they don't feel anything and end up with respiratory arrest and die.

    Some days I just smoke some Pot for my pain and don't take my Methadone (Medical Marijuana is legal in my state) Pot is an excellent pain reliever and should be completely legal for the treatment of Pain and is much safer than opiates.

    Doctors need to learn how to treat pain and not be frightened from prescribing the proper medication to stop it.. Believe it or not opiates DO not appeal to me. I don't like them. The funs all over when you have to take them to live..................

    June 29, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AJ

      I completely agree. Having to take drugs in order to function is seriously no fun at all. I don't get "high" from my meds, and I do not understand why people would willingly chain themselves to a drug that will cause them to get gravely ill when they stop taking it. I wish that medical marijuana was legal in my state, because I believe that it would help me far more than my painkillers do. Nausea and vomiting are part of my pain issues, and marijuana would help. I also feel that marijuana is safer than opiates or NSAIDs. However, because the drug is illegal, I would never use it. I cannot risk being dropped by my pain doctor for non-compliance, nor do I want to wind up behind bars.

      June 30, 2011 at 01:28 | Report abuse |
  38. Frank

    I get a kick out people who say just go see a pain specialist; the waiting list at the pain clinic where I went had a 4 year waiting list. Try and get treatment for chronic pain. I double dog dare you! Doctors WILL NOT treat PAIN period............... Yes marijuana should be legal for medical use.............................

    June 30, 2011 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Frank

    Before I was put on Methadone for my back, I had to go to the Black Market to obtain medication to relieve my back pain. You will be shocked at what you will do when you are in unbearable chronic pain, you can't sleep, eat, live or function. I was going to lose my employment if I did not get some form or pain relief or simply die. When you tell a doctor you are in pain they just think you are fishing for drugs, when in reality drugs are on every street corner in America if you need them. I got so I would not fight with the doctors anymore and said, I have to take care of myself or die. The asinine Drug War is the basic cause of this situation and the doctors are frightened to prescribe pain medication. If the doctors will not help you purchase it on the street, to hell with them and the DEA and the Drug War......................... Save you own life!

    June 30, 2011 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jeff

    For the trolls and folks that say pain is "all in the head" or a weakness, I offer this simple proposal. Let me expose one of your nerve roots to my deft use of a paper clip or a feather, and if I can't get you curse your family, renounce your religion, beg for drugs and contemplate death all within the course of one fun filled evening, i will eat my paper prescription for oxycodone.

    Give me, your nerve endings and my paper clip one minute out of every hour together for intimate bonding, and within a month you will have lost your job, your relationships and part of your sanity. If you are not interested in that type of first-hand research then please shut up, go away, and quit poking your finger in these people's sensitive bits.

    June 30, 2011 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Brandy M.

    I find the fact about 60% of women rate childbirth as severe pain. Isn't that just a given that childbirth is going to produce severe pain? Tell me something I don't know.

    June 30, 2011 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. R

    I understand all about pain. i have suffered for about 10 years. From back problems to knee problems to foot problems. i get it. i had 3 surgeries (2 microfracture surgries on my right knee, 1 on my left) leaving me with no cartlige in either side. I walk bone on bone every day, cant kneal on the floor, cant sit in a tub( cant get in and out), cant even play with my dog. but the doc said i dont meet the standards for needing pain meds except Aleve or knee replacements. I just have to live with the pain and grinding everyday of my life. My heart goes out to everyone i have read about tonight because i live it too. Ill be praying for all of you.

    June 30, 2011 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ever Cuyler

    I want to thank you for writing this article about chronic pain and the blame sufferers often get. We need national attention to this matter. Awareness made to the medical profession, government, medical insurance providers, pharmacology, the general public, workers comp, SSD, addiction specialist treating chronic pain with little to no education in doing so. The current system can be a trap for many of us who suffer. Compounding and already horrible disease and making patients feel at fault. The current system to threat chronic pain is lacking in a major way in this country. I have been suffering for ten years now. I have shown no addiction issues and have a clean record. I am often treated with abuse if not flat out neglect. I want to thank CNN and the writer of this article for bring forth the issues we face. To thank you for your help in educating the public on the issues that we face. I can't thank you enough for what you are doing. We have a long way to go and I hope to help in the fight by starting my own non-profit. I also want to thank the foundation who is made this article possible, thank you all for all you are doing to educated others on this issue...

    Ever cuyler

    June 30, 2011 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. The truth

    This is a puff piece for the pain and drug industries. Sounds like a lot of drug addicts commenting. Prescription drug abuse is rampant, and people need to learn to manage their pain without the use of drugs.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. klebinek


    July 1, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Deloras Rujawitz

    I would like to appreciation during this great read!! I absolutely loved every little it. I've you bookmarked your blog post to look at new issues you post.

    December 8, 2011 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Darryl

    The problem isn't under diagnosis, its lack of pain management. Many doctors have "moral" issues treating pain patients even when they know what the cause is. They won't operate on you, but won't treat your pain, especially if it involves substances that they think are "addictive". Even though a true pain specialist will tell you that there is a difference between addiction and dependancy.

    As far as everyone else lucky and ungrateful about living a life free of chronic pain, it is best you never discuss your issues with anyone other than your doctor. Anyone who has never had long standing pain will deem you a hypochondriac cause they could never fathom that something could actually be wrong with you and the doctors won't do anything about it.

    I have a disk bulge between c3 and c4 on my spine. I have a herniation as well as a bone spur punching against my spinal cord. Because of my age, doctors don't want to operate on me, instead they believe it will heal, even though i have it for over a year. They also refuse to refer me to a pain specialist AND they will only let me have anti-inflamatories OR epidurals. Epidruals work for about a month, or so, then you have to get another one done. The insurance will only pay for 3 a year. So 7 months of the year, you are in incredible pain and if you speak about it to your friends, they think you are a hypochondriac because if anything was "seriously" wrong with you, you would have to have surgery.

    So in conclusion, its best to just not even talk about it. If they ask why you are cranky today, tell them its none of your business.

    March 17, 2012 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Adam Slupe

    My long run in legal guidelines!!! They come up with a cute couple you should not they?!?!?

    August 29, 2013 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. bullseyedart

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    February 26, 2015 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.