The debate over pain medication is a dominant topic in the current medical society. We hear constant news stories about opioid overdoses, people illegally selling pills and blatant misuse of medications to manage pain.
In the current political and medical climate, it is no wonder that doctors are hesitant to write prescriptions for pain medication.
I typically try to avoid controversial topics but I feel as if this topic needs to be addressed. I feel as if those who have never suffered agonizing pain are the dominating voices in this debate.
Let me first say that I am all for healthy eating, exercise, alternative and holistic therapy as the first line treatment for pain. True healthcare should seek to eliminate the source of pain instead of simply mask it with medicine. For example- With the disease of arthritis, there is much research that eliminating gluten and dairy and adding an exercise regimen lowers inflammation rates in the body and helps improve a patient’s pain level. Medical solutions such as physical therapy and holistic nutrition can help manage pain in various other diseases. Self-care, getting proper rest and hydration should also be first line solutions when trying to manage pain.
But what happens when even with the addition of the exercise, healthy food and rest a patient is still in pain?
I was this person. I was the person who tried everything possible to manage my pain to no avail. I’ve been gluten free for 7 years, dairy free for 2 years, I am in physical therapy for exercise, etc. I started having severe pain at 12 years old. I later discovered I had endometriosis. I started having chronic kidney stones and infections at 15 years old. I later discovered I have Medullary Sponge Kidneys.
I visited emergency rooms many times in my young life. I saw countless doctors. I saw every specialist available in my area. I suffered with horrible, gut wrenching agony throughout my teenage years. I missed work and school frequently.
Not one doctor ever offered pain medication to me. In my young life, I struggled with severe pain. My body was so taxed for so many years; I developed adrenal failure (Addison’s disease)
I can only help but wonder, had my pain been managed….had I had some relief….would my body ended up in the state that it is in now?
Anyone who has ever had a kidney stone will tell you it is one of the most painful experiences possible. You feel as if you are being stabbed to death. You are nauseated. Your whole body feels like it is under attack. The infections that come with chronic stones are just as painful. I was constantly in danger of becoming septic. With the endometriosis as well, my young life was filled with agony. I suffered with agonizing pain, migraines, stones, etc.
Advil was my go-to medication. Which anyone with stones will tell you…it is like eating grape jelly when you are in that much pain.Pain medication was never offered to me, because I was so young. I couldn’t possibly have been trusted with such a big responsibility a doctor once told me. I was a 4.0 GPA, straight a student, was on debate team, volunteered at church, still have yet to take even one drink of alcohol. I didn’t even drink soda as a teenager for goodness sake.
I suffered, because I was young.
There are many others that suffer because of ignorant doctors.
Now, at 24 years old, I know what is wrong with me. A doctor FINALLY looked past my age and into my symptoms. I now have to see a pain management clinic every 30 days just to get a script. I pay $60 co-pay just for “pain management.”
And that right there is something that has been silent in this debate- The concept of pain management. You see, with my health there is not one moment I am not in pain. The pain medication simply makes it on a level where I don’t absolutely lose my mind. This is not always the case; sometimes my pain is so high that the medicine doesn’t even touch it. Anyone with severe chronic pain will tell you the same story. Pain medicine is a means to cope with the agony. They do not make us feel good. They don’t even make us feel normal. They just make it to where life is a little bit less of a torture session.
Imagine how terrifying it would be to know that there is a movement that is trying to take slight relief away.
Pain medicine is not a means to get high. Any pain management patient would rather not be on medication. We would much rather live our lives without having to worry about taking pills just to move.
I was never offered pain medicine and now I suffer from adrenal failure. I will always wonder if my body not been so physically taxed would I be where I’m at in my own health.
My message is this-
If you have never been in so much pain you started bargaining with God, then you have no right to an opinion on whether pain medication should be prescribed or not.
Most of us with chronic illness do the bargaining with God conversation at least once a week. If something makes your life better, it is legal and it doesn’t harm anyone else- by all means keep that in your life.
Pain medicine does not take pain away, it is not a means to get high, it is a means to sustaining somewhat of a life. Please educate yourself before you jump on the anti-opioid bandwagon.
This post was originally published on Winslow E. Dixon
Winslow E. Dixon started her young career in geriatrics. She specialized in Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia and worked as a resident care director/memory care coordinator. She then continued her education, studying holistic health and nutrition. She worked as a holistic health coach, aromatherapist, licensed med-tech and licensed medical thermographer.
Upon her diagnosis of Medullary Sponge Kidney, Endometriosis and Addison’s Disease, she was forced to find a new purpose. Winslow is now a published author, freelance writer and journalist. She volunteers her time as an advocate for those suffering with chronic illness, rare disease and disability. She is also a motivational speaker and has dedicated her life to spreading hope to those who are suffering through her patient advocacy organization, “Adrenal Alternatives Foundation.”
In the meantime, she is a journalist and political activist for chronic illness, rare disease and holistic health. She is an avid writer and her fiction series – The EverVigilant Trilogy is the process of worldwide publication- release TBA.
For inspiration and encouragement, feel free to visit her website at-Winslowedixon.wordpress.com or follow her official author page https://www.facebook.com/winslowedixon