The brain on chronic pain

It’s important for pain patients to know how to combat ignorance like this:

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2015/12/31/all-things-considered-except-patients

Under comments:

Joan Anundson Ahr (a week ago)

My experience with family members who have rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in my job as an assistant to an orthopedic spine surgeon for many years, is that narcotic pain meds work for acute pain while waiting for surgery, pain relief immediately after surgery, and for emergency care for an acute severe injury. Using narcotics any other way, except perhaps for end of life pain relief, invites layering more problems on top of the original cause for chronic pain.

Functional MRI studies of the brain have shown the damaging effects from addictions to alcohol and narcotics. A person who’s brain has become accustomed to the drug doing the work of dealing with pain sensations loses his natural function of producing calming and soothing responses to pain signals…

When you look at the management of pain only from the side of addiction, you have a very narrow view. And you also begin to see all pain patients as having the potential for addiction (when, in fact, only a small percentage are in danger of it). You believe that dependence and addiction are the same thing. You believe that there is never a reason to abuse these drugs, even if the result of this abuse turns out to be either beneficial or of no concern to the patient.

How should we even define drug “abuse” and “addiction”? Only through the eyes of the psychiatric community? Only through the lens of certain drugs?

Even while we are learning more about the brain, we’re not really sure what it all means. If experts don’t know, what makes anyone think they know?

A person who’s brain has become accustomed to the drug doing the work of dealing with pain sensations loses his natural function of producing calming and soothing responses to pain signals…

Our ignorance of how the brain works often gets in the way, giving us beliefs that are, shall we say, incorrect.

So, do you think this woman knows what a brain on chronic pain looks like? Or is she only concerned with what an addicted brain looks like? Does she understand that many pain patients have already lost the natural ability to produce “calming and soothing responses” to continuous pain signals?

Like, duh. (I mean, seriously, duh.)

Without opioids, do pain patients regain this “natural function”?  Well, this pain patient didn’t, and from what I’ve read, other pain patients haven’t, either.

A question in my search terms today:

“Is hyperalgesia being used by dr to refuse opioids for chronic pain?”

Again I say, duh. And again, just like other doctors who blame pain patients:

“Ballantyne told the program that during her lengthy career in pain management she and other doctors were sometimes abused and insulted by ‘awful’ pain patients when they tried to wean them off opiates.”

Because pain patients should respond like robots, right? Why should we care when our suffering is increased because of opioid phobia? We should be happy that our doctors think they know what’s best for us, right? (Doctors suck.)

Opioids can give pain patients a synthetic version of their body’s own pain-fighting endorphins, allowing them to regain this ability. Cannabis does the same thing, only in a more natural way. But natural or synthetic, these drugs give pain patients the ability to be active in their own lives. And I’ll just add that, regardless of a patient’s activity level, opioids relieve suffering — and that has to count for something.

Hey, lady, drug addiction and chronic pain are two separate medical conditions. How often do I have to repeat this fact?

Janice Reynolds (a week ago)

If opioids do not work for Chronic Pain, why would they work suddenly at the end of life? …

6 thoughts on “The brain on chronic pain

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