Monthly Archives: January 2013

New Procedure for Chronic Pain Sufferers

New procedure for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Reposted from

People suffering from chronic pain will be able to undergo a new procedure called dorsal column stimulation which was launched this morning by Health Minister Joseph Cassar.

So far two patients have undergone this procedure. A third operation is planned for April. Each intervention costs €35,000, Dr Cassar said during a press conference at Mater Dei Hospital – where the procedure is offered.

Dr Marilyn Casha, from the hospital’s pain clinic, explained that the procedure was being offered to patients suffering from two conditions: complex regional pain syndrome and failed back surgery syndrome.

It involves inserting a “wire pipe”, containing eight electrodes, into the spinal cord. The wire emits electrical pulses that correct the pain-generating pulses emitted by the spinal cord. The patient can control the pulses generated by the device through a remote control, depending on the level of pain.

Karl Attard, 23, was the second person to have underdone this surgery. He shared his experience this morning. The young chef had hurt himself about five years ago when he slipped at work, injuring his leg. But instead of getting better, the pain spread throughout his body causing an “invisible disability” that stopped him from working. Now that he had undergone the procedure and intends to start working again.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Emotional, Hope, Pain - Chronic, Pain - Physical


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Should People with Severe Chronic Pain be Allowed Assisted Suicide?

They say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. However, what if it’s not that easy? We allow patients with terminal cancer seek a humane way out. So, why can’t those with debilitating chronic pain seek the same relief? I’ve thought about this some over the years and still can’t come up with a good answer to that one. I’ve thought about suicide as a way to end the pain, but I would never do it. I personally struggle with a chronic condition that isn’t even on the same magnitude as the woman mentioned in the article below. How can we, as a self-labeled compassionate race even begin to comprehend what some chronic pain sufferers go though and how can we judge them? This woman is not a 16 year old boy or girl with depression and social issues that feel that death would be preferable to their emotional pain. This is a 44 year old woman who has lived life and determined that the pain just isn’t manageable anymore. If nothing else, this article shows us that the problem of chronic pain isn’t just silent. Doctor’s need to listen more, and help.

I would like some feedback on this. What do you think? Would you ever consider suicide to end the pain? If so, why? What magnitude of pain do you think warrants this extreme action? Are there moral or ethical complications that you can think of? Let’s start a conversation about this.

Chronic-pain patients at high risk of suicide

January 29, 2013 by Marni Jameson in Psychology & Psychiatry

Two months ago, Gary Rager’s girlfriend asked him to do the unthinkable. The 44-year-old woman, who has suffered disabling pain for the past three years, asked Rager if he would help her end her life.

“I don’t want to kill her, and I don’t want to go to prison. But I don’t want to see her suffer anymore either,” said Rager, a 59-year-old Sanford, Fla., sculptor whose work appears at area theme parks and public spaces throughout Orlando, Fla.

Such are the desperate measures that many afflicted with chronic disabling conditions – and those who love them – contemplate.

Some do more than think about it.

Like many patients in chronic pain, Karen Brooks has seen dozens of doctors over the past few years.

All take tests and discuss her physical health, but few have inquired about her mental health, said her sister, Michelle Brooks, of Maitland, Fla., who takes her sister to her doctors’ appointments.

Given the high correlation between chronic illness or pain and depression – even suicide – more providers need to bring up the dark subject, health experts say.

Large-scale studies show that at least 10 percent of suicides – and possibly as many as 70 percent – are linked to chronic illness or unrelenting pain.

Authors of a 2011 British study that looked at the link concluded that patients with such conditions “should be considered a high-risk group for suicide … and much greater attention should be given to providing better … psychological support.”

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