The article‘s fairly good. The focus is rheumatoid arthritis/RA, but I’m used to that. This stopped me cold:
If your rheumatologist won’t prescribe pain medications, seek out a pain management doctor to get your pain levels under control. And find a good pain management psychologist to help you find the joy in life again.
Yes, I know this isn’t easy. But it is the path forward.
Not easy? That’s exactly right. But not because I am weak of will or ill-informed or have given up already.
My current insurance doesn’t cover pain management. At all. Medically, pharmacologically, or psychologically. Which is far more than “isn’t easy” unless I have the disposable income to pay out of pocket which is no path forward because the money isn’t there and will not materialize because I’m determined to not be bent double by my chronic pain! [FYI: my previous insurance policies also didn’t cover pain management at all.]
And: when someone says s/he has RA, there’s a good chance the hearer will know RA can be very painful. When you say you have ankylosing spondylitis/AS, you get blankness. Apparently, the only inflammatory arthritises that are considered painful are the ones most people have heard of.
OK, let’s relent and say I have insurance that does cover pain management. The PM physicians in my area, for inflammatory arthritis and other conditions, only administer steroid shots, which can reduce [not eliminate] one source of pain for several months or a few weeks, and maybe radiofrequency ablation. No pills of any kind on any regular basis. It’s not just me either—when a doctor who does prescribe pain medications retires or leaves this area, his or her patients are stuck, and stuck hard because they will struggle to find a doctor who will prescribe the same, half or even a quarter of what the former doctor did. And may not find one.
Pain meds are not the only tool. But they can make an unbearable life bearable at times. Pain relief, not elimination, is about quality of life. My lack of quality of life from chronic pain will not stop a single person from becoming addicted to heroin or stop even my overdose/suicide.
The path isn’t here, and no amount of will on my part will change that. Especially if part of finding that path involves managing/controlling my chronic daily pain through pain management physicians or pain medications.
I know joy. But not because of pain management.