“My doctor said I cannot be cured so there is no point in treating me for pain,” wrote one patient.
Cancer can’t be cured. Schizophrenia and asthma are also incurable. Then there’s AIDS.
The treatments for these medical conditions can also cause pain, including chronic pain. Why suffer through expensive, painful treatments when there is no cure? What kind of doctor would say there’s no point in treating cancer or AIDS? (Doctors suck.)
Yes, cancer and AIDS can be fatal. (Actually, being human is a fatal condition.) But chronic pain can take a long time to kill you, so the medical industry thinks the danger isn’t imminent. And I think chronic pain isn’t really considered a medical condition, like cancer.
When patients die from suicide or an overdose, it’s the patient’s fault. When a cancer patient dies, it’s the disease’s fault (or the fault of the medical industry). Because drug war.
But Lussier said her doctor was concerned that opioids would actually increase her sensitivity to pain, and informed her three months ago that she would get only three more monthly prescriptions for the drug.
If you suffer from chronic pain, your body is already sensitive to pain. Duh. Can opioids increase that sensitivity?
I suppose it’s possible, although it doesn’t seem very logical. It makes more sense to say that not treating chronic pain would increase a person’s sensitivity to pain. That’s why pain progresses from acute to chronic — you can’t suffer from chronic pain unless you’ve suffered from acute pain first.
Think of a dial for volume, zero to ten. Similar to the pain scale, each number represents a different level of pain. When you stub your toe or burn your finger, you’ve felt pain at the level of a 1 or 2. Let’s say a root canal or a broken bone would be a 4. Having a baby is like a 6, while cancer is around a 6+.
The purpose of this dial is not to rate a person’s pain — it’s to mark the different levels of pain you’ve been exposed to and have experienced. If you’ve never broken a bone, then your brain doesn’t know of or understand that level of pain. But once your brain has experienced pain at the level of a 6 or 7, there’s a greater chance that you will experience that level of pain in the future. It’s easier for your brain to reach that level after you’ve already reached it once.
While I’m focusing on physical pain for my pain dial, the same applies to mental pain and anguish. Unless you’ve experienced grief or suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, your brain can’t understand that level of pain. But once you do experience different levels of mental pain, it’s not hard for your brain to feel it again.
So, maybe the risk of developing chronic pain includes experiencing high levels of acute pain. Like if you were a gymnast or a football player. It’s no wonder women are more prone to chronic pain because so many of us have experienced the pain of labor. Like the risk of suffering from drug addiction climbs after someone experiences physical or mental trauma.
Where would the experience of chronic pain fall on this pain dial? It’s one thing to experience level 6 pain during labor, but that pain goes away.
Let’s say you have a toothache that registers around a 5 on the pain dial. After treatment, most if not all of that pain goes away. (Who could function with a constant toothache?) My TMJ causes a level 5 toothache in every one of my teeth. Does that mean my pain level is a 5? No, because TMJ is not the only thing that causes me pain. And because my pain is constant.
Constant/chronic pain should have a place on the pain dial, just like a broken bone or root canal. Because no matter what level of physical (or mental) pain you’re suffering from, when that pain is constant and incurable, the volume on your pain dial increases.
Intractable pain is not a symptom of my TMJ — not like addiction can be a symptom of trauma. No, intractable pain is a condition all on its own. Maybe I could even call it a cancer of the soul.
Doctors lie all the time. Of course they do. I know it’s hard to stand up for yourself when you feel like shit, and when you need and depend on your doctor. Just be prepared for when your doctor repeats information that’s biased and untrue. Don’t let him or her get away with it.