26 February 2006

Chronic Pain

How do you handle pain? Do you complain and seek help immediately?
NEW YORK [Reuters, 24 Feb 2006] --- More than 20 percent of patients with chronic pain do not seek physician care for their pain, according to a report.

"We need to get over what for many people appeared to be the 'don't ask, don't tell' mentality about chronic pain," Dr. Barbara P. Yawn from Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester, Minnesota told Reuters Health.

The survey showed that 78.9 percent of the silent sufferers used over-the-counter pain medications (compared with 56.3 percent of vocal sufferers), but only 5 percent used prescribed pain medications (compared with 35.2 percent of vocal sufferers).

Silent sufferers made fewer health care visits per year than their vocal counterparts (5.2 vs 8.6), the report indicates.

Some of the patients I've encountered especially the senior ones, would rather suffer silently than bother a friend or close relatives about the pain they have. The frequent reason of course, is financial, as people here would rather spend for food to eat for their family than buy medicine for their pain. Also, I've observed that elderly people have that fatalistic notion that once they reach a certain age, it is okay for them to die already. They would not seek immediate help and would bear the pain silently believing that it all part of growing old.

8 reactions:

eye said...

my grandmother is a classic example, she's already 94 and would always tell us that she wants to die already. she wouldn't speak a thing whenever she's feeling ill, although she's got lots of money to pay for the hospital bills.

Dr. Emer said...

That is a paradox that needs to be solved, Eye.

Dreaming again said...

Some of us fall somewhere in the middle ... fear prevents us from getting more help for our chronic pain than we do... what happens if we get help for that chronic pain, and then something causes that pain to worsen ... the pain relief measures that have been taken will need to increase.

As my chronic pain (from lupus) has increased, so has the measures to try to control it, but it feels like it is to no avail.
When, I face a surgery, and have to go off of the prednisone and anti inflammatories, I find out just how effective those medications truely are (yeouch)!

During a flare, I find out just how much worse it could get, and how much room I need to leave for pain relief measures to be there for me.

It's a balancing act ...that is difficult for me, and my doctor's to walk ... and seems to be an uphill struggle for us all.

Dr. Emer said...

It sure is a tough balancing act, Dreaming again. But I'm glad that at least, you're open for intervention. The folks back here, don't want any.

I pray for the easing of your pain. God bless you. :)

Joan said...

My mom went into assisted living 2 mo. ago and is scared to death that other residents and the nurses will find out she's in constant pain. She has adhesions, but over the past 3 yrs. has had every test in the book. She's afraid if she mentions her pain, she'll be sent for more tests by her doctor and that residents won't talk to her because they'll see her as a complainer.

Dr. Emer said...

Joan, I think you should tell your Mom to start complaining. There's no point in being scared about being found out. She can be helped. You can help by asking specifically what's painful, and telling it straight to your mom's attending physician so she can be relieved of that longtime hurt she's experiencing.

bayibhyap said...

Older folks don't want to be a burden to other people when they fall sick. That's why they keep silent when they are sick or in pain. Ask them. They will tell you this.

Stephen said...

I have a high tolerance to pain. I don't even notice it. When noticed, i look for some cause and solution. Observation. Almost five years ago, the pain in my right shoulder was bad enough that I could not extend the arm higher than horizontal. I still reach for things on high shelves with my left hand. I didn't complain, but did notice that it was somewhat better on Sundays, and best on Monday mornings. What could that mean? Well, i'd experienced caffeine withdrawal on Sundays. I didn't just get headaches because i was at church. And when my Mt. Dew consumption was reduced, they went away. So, i went cold turkey, and 10 months later, was restored to full movement and the pain was gone. Arthritis in the hands and feet which i'd barely noticed, back pain, shoulder pain, all of it.

And i won't go back. Why would i grab a Dew if it will cause such misery? The reason is that caffeine is rather addictive after all, and by comparison, i have no will power to speak of. But i'm back on the wagon again, and though my hands are better, i know my right foot won't recover until August.

The current additional experiment is to see if non-impact exercise will accelerate the healing process.