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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Wisconsin Doctors to Start Prescribing “Tough Love”?!

I HATE articles like this. I believe that true chronic pain sufferers have enough to deal with in their care to be worrying about things like this. Doctors realize that chronic pain is a real condition needing real therapy. However, until a good one is found, some of us are left to fend with pain meds instead. I bet that I can ask any others like me and they would say the same thing, “find me something that works and I’ll flush these pills in an instant.” People don’t seem to realize that we DON’T want to take pills. We want to feel better. We want to be able to do the things in life that “normal” people do. Like I said previously, it’s hard enough without drug abusers getting in the way.

I have a better idea! How about doctors prescribe a visit to a therapist WITH the prescription? That way, we can get the meds that we need while also getting the much needed counseling in order to deal with the feelings and emotions that come from a debilitating life condition? That way you leave labeling an addict to a psychological professional and not your opinion. I’m sure that a counselor can see between the lines to determine whether you legitimately need pain meds or not. I feel that we need chronic pain sufferers making these rules (or at least previewing them) instead of doctors or politicians that are slave to their personal views and not what’s always best for those that need help. </rant>


Area ER Doctors To Limit Who Gets Prescription Pain Meds

As prescription pain medication abuse continues to rise, area emergency rooms will likely go Oxy Free in the next few months, meaning patients might get a little more tough love.

By Denise Lockwood
July 27, 2012

Fed up with patients that don’t have legitimate reasons for taking prescription pain medications, emergency room physicians in southeastern Wisconsin will soon be giving large doses of tough love to patients who are doctor shopping.

Nationally, narcotic prescription medication abuse, including abuse of oxycodone and oxycontin, is on the rise. So within the next few months hospitals in Milwaukee County are going “Oxy-free” and a Racine-based emergency department is also looking into doing the same. The information-sharing group includes officials from Froedtert Hospital, Wheaton Franciscan, Columbia-St. Mary’s, and Aurora Health Care.

Dr. Gary Swart, medical director for the emergency departments at Wheaton Franciscan’s Elmbrook Memorial, St. Joseph and The Wisconsin Heart Hospital campuses, said he’s part of a network of emergency department administrators that will be implementing tighter restrictions on how prescription pain medications are used and they want their patients to know about their policies prior to registering.

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Chronic Pain in Another Part of the World

I would really like to know if this statistic is true and how it came to be… 1 in 10 adult Australians suffer from chronic pain? That seems a little high. Furthermore, if it is true that it is underreported, how many really suffer from it? I can now understand why many aren’t getting the help that they need. At least there is awareness on the topic unlike here in America where either you’re considered to be “faking it” or are just “looking for a fix”.

One of the most interesting things about this article is the possibility of defining chronic pain as a “disease”. I wonder what this would mean for those afflicted with it. I am not sure of what the disability laws are like in Australia, and would love for someone to fill me in on this. How would redefining chronic pain influence the sufferer? What do you think?


Chronic pain takes a big toll

Cathy O’Leary Medical Editor,
The West Australian
Updated July 26, 2012, 2:10 am

Health experts are warning that chronic pain is taking a huge personal and economic toll on Australians, affecting one in five people and costing more than $34 billion a year.

As part of National Pain Week, they say pain clinics around the country have long waiting lists and less than 10 per cent of patients with chronic pain have access to effective treatment.

It comes as new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics based on a household survey show one in 10 Australian adults experienced severe or very severe pain in the previous month and they were much more likely to report high levels of psychological distress than those without pain.

Experts argue chronic pain, which is pain that lasts longer than three months, should now be seen as a disease in its own right.

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Why is Australia Publishing More Chronic Pain Research than the US?

So, every night I search the Internet for the newest research and articles concerning all types of chronic illnesses. Specifically, I target chronic pain research. I try to no only educate myself, but others out there on the comings and goings in this field. However, what I’m noticing is that time and time again, Australia seems to publish more research in this field than anyone else! I’m not complaining here. I’m happy that at least someone is doing it. I just find it strange that the US isn’t doing more in this area. Maybe the pharmaceutical enterprise is keeping it down? What are your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Pain - Chronic

 

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The Soft Link Between Smoking and Pain

So, if you’re like me, you’ve used smoking to cope with your pain from time to time. Or rather, you’ve justified smoking because it seems like a great coping mechanism. I have sat around and chain smoked before when my pain has been the worst. Do I think that it helps? Of course not! I do think however that it helps to act as a distraction at times. A recent “study” has been published that states that we are better off quitting then coping using this method. See below for the full article.


Interventional Pain Medicine
ISSUE: JULY 2012 | VOLUME: 10:07
Smoking Cigarettes a Poor Coping Strategy For Chronic Pain

by George Ochoa

Among patients with chronic pain, smokers who reported using cigarettes to cope had worse pain-related outcomes than either nonsmokers or smokers who denied using smoking to manage their pain, according to a new study in the Journal of Pain (2012;13:285-292).

“These findings may be contrary to expectations for some people,” two study authors, Alexander Patterson, PsyD, affiliated with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, Tacoma, Wash., and Benjamin Morasco, PhD, staff psychologist, Mental Health and Clinical Neurosciences Division, Portland VA Medical Center, and assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, said in an email. “There are a number of patients who, in the context of routine clinical care, mention that smoking cigarettes can be helpful for providing distraction and reducing the severity of pain. The results from this study suggest that this coping strategy is associated with poorer pain-related outcomes.”

In this cross-sectional study, Drs. Patterson and Morasco recruited 151 veterans from a VA medical center. Most were male (92.1%), white (74.8%) and middle-aged (median, 54.2 years). Current smoking status was assessed through a single self-report question (yes/no), and smoking to cope with pain was assessed through a yes/no response to the question, “Have you ever smoked cigarettes to help cope with pain?” Of current smokers (n=79), 40 denied using cigarettes to cope with pain and 39 reported using cigarettes to cope with pain; the remaining 72 patients were nonsmokers. All had pain diagnoses, most commonly chronic neck or joint pain, chronic low back pain and rheumatism/arthritis.

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I thought that this was a wonderful way to define our reality and wanted to share!

Dying for a Diagnosis

I am sick. 

It’s a factor in my every day life. I woke up this morning and the first thing that happened was that my arm twitched; that is, it moved about six inches in a swift jerk and then returned to its prior position. I sat up and felt the muscles in my legs cry out in pain. I pulled myself up and out of bed and took very hesitant, slow steps to the bathroom, and my sense of balance was off. I woke up feeling tired and unfocused. My joints hurt and if someone called me up today and invited me to go for a walk or something I’d turn them down.

It’s also something that a lot of people know about me. I blog about my illness, I talk about it, I work it into my classes when it’s appropriate. For some people, it’s the one thing…

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Because You Needed a Smile

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Funny, Uncategorized

 

This Opens Some Questions for the 21st Century

So is was something that I experienced a few doctors visits ago. My doctor was slightly uncomfortable at the end of our session and then asked me if I would mind taking a urine test. He decided that he was going to start screening his patients that were on pain meds for illicit substances. I readily agreed of course because I didn’t have anything in my system to hide. The problem that comes from this is because I live in a state that has passed a medical marijuana law allowing it for conditions such as chronic pain. So here is my main question: what if I had legally bought and used medical marijuana? Does that mean that he would stop my entire pain regiment due to this? At what point does getting help from one source preclude you from another? I would love to hear your opinions on this in the comments!


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – TVC starts new medical marijuana procedure

FAIRBANKS — Tanana Valley Clinic has instituted a new policy requiring some patients taking certain pain-killing medications to be marijuana-free.

The clinic started handing out prepared statements to all chronic pain patients Monday, said Corinne Leistikow, assistant medical director for family practice at TVC.

The statement reads, in part, “We will no longer prescribe controlled substances, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, to patients who are using marijuana (THC). These drugs are psychoactive substances and it is not safe for you to take them together. Your urine will be tested for marijuana. If you test positive you will have two months to get it out of your system. You will be retested in two months. If you still have THC in your urine, we will no longer prescribe controlled substances for you.”

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