There’s No Back Pain Surgery Can’t Make Worse

Surgery is much less science based than the rest of medicine. It is almost impossible to subject to studies that are double blind and placebo controlled. Surgical guidelines are therefore necessarily much more anecdotal than based on evidence…

So back pain invites two dangers- unnecessarily invasive surgery and unnecessary life threatening addiction…

For one thing, addiction only occurs in a small percentage of pain patients who take opioids, although the media would have you believe otherwise.  Fact is, there are millions and millions of people taking these drugs, and the number who abuse or overdose is very small in comparison. Choosing to manage your pain and decrease your suffering does not invite a life-threatening addiction, especially for an educated patient.

Lynn writes: [For the purpose of my response, I will assume that Lynn is a woman.]

My GP prescribed an opioid for me. I was concerned the pills could become addictive but she (like two other doctors) blythely and incorrectly told me this would not be a problem…

See, all a patient needs is the right information, including the low percentage of patients who actually become addicted.  And if you believe everything your doctors tell you, then no one can help you.  This patient had a concern that she disregarded just because she didn’t trust her own instincts.

Diabetics who take insulin every day are addicted too.  Those who take heart medications will have to take them for the rest of their lives.  Chronic conditions require daily medications.

Part of the remedy was to realize that I was part of the problem. Yes, in anticipating pain, I was causing more pain. When we anticipate pain, we actually tense up more, which leads to more anxiety, which leads to more tightened muscles and then more pain…

Sure, blame the patient.  In this case, blame yourself.  Tell me, how do you control “anticipation” when dealing with constant pain?  There’s no anticipation of pain — it’s always there.  Sure, you can be nervous or anxious about potential pain storms, but this “remedy” of realizing the patient is the problem — and not the pain — doesn’t make sense.

Maybe a patient can be blamed for how she handles and reacts to the pain, at least by some doctors and other pain patients, but the pain came first.  First, blame the pain, and then have some empathy for those who are unable to control their suffering.

Once I realized that I’m in charge, I felt better. Really, absolutely true…

Ha, that’s so funny… believing you’re in charge of your pain.  Believing you’re in control of which treatments work and which don’t.  Yeah, I’m laughing my ass off right now… while, all of a sudden, feeling better because I now believe I’m in charge of my pain.  It’s a miracle.  (Not.)

Opioid drugs often only disguise the pain and are NOT the best remedy for fixing or alleviating it…

There is no remedy or fix, and there is only so much pain that can be alleviated with any treatment, including opioids.  These drugs do what they’re supposed to do — disguise the pain, allow you to distract yourself from it, and get on with your life.  The purpose of most drugs is not to cure an illness, but to manage it.

I would recommend not starting them at all and if you are on them slowly get off…

I would recommend doing whatever works for you.  Don’t let anyone scare you away from the treatments that work.  No one else but you has to live with your pain.  No one else but you knows what works for you.  Don’t make your decisions based on rhetoric like this.

4 thoughts on “There’s No Back Pain Surgery Can’t Make Worse

  1. Reblogged this on Watch and Whirl and commented:
    m sure you wrote this post just for me. Every day I tell myself I can do it, that I am lucky to be alive so just suck it up, there are many people worse off than me while I’m literally doubled over in blinding, muscle peeling off my bone kind of pain in my back because I refuse to not let my pain keep me from doing the simple task of washing the dishes. I gave up caring if I was addictedif I was addicted to pain killers years ago. It’s the bottle I blindly reach for as I open my eyes every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a pain doctor once who used to tell me stories about all his other patients, who were mysteriously doing better than me. It’s a shaming tactic, and you shouldn’t use it on yourself. The drugs are there to help you, not harm you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just fixed the errors I put on my reblog.. Typing on a Nook can get hairy at times.

        No, I’m done with the “shaming myself” part. I’ve done all I could to lower my dose to the point that I should be able to stop, but the thing is – if the pain were not there, it would be a relatively easy thing to do, but the problem exists. That’s the crux. The pain has been bad lately. I have another pain clinic appt coming up this week and part of me wants to yell,”There must be something we can do about this!!” I know surgery is a double edged sword, but I also think, ‘Is this it for the rest of my life?” Probably. Although I AM alive and I’m grateful that I can even type these words, and when my drs tell me I am doing “better than most”, they are talking about my functioning liver. After surgery and then a spinal fracture and 7 rib fractures I realized that I was screwed. Have surgery or not have surgery? Is it even an option?

        I really do take what I think is a small dose of pain killers, but unless someone has to deal with chronic pain that reaches the scale of 10 ( when they say give a number for your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 ) every day if I try to live my life in an upright position, They just don’t understand. I’ve had good, kind, compassionate drs, but they just shake their heads about what to do, so I go to my appts so I can pick up my script. go home, grit my teeth and live my life.

        Liked by 1 person

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