Thursday, April 8, 2010

Severe Chronic Pain is a Killer – Study Finds

Briefly NotedPrevious research has demonstrated a clearly negative influence of chronic pain on health. Now, a new study portrays a profound link between severe chronic pain and death; inflicting nearly a 70% greater mortality risk than even cardiovascular disease.

In 1996 a large cohort of 6,940 persons was recruited by researchers at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and information collected about chronic pain status, general health, and sociodemographic details [Torrance, et al. 2010]. Followup 10 years later linked these data with routinely collected national data for death registration. A total of 5,858 (84%) individuals from the original cohort were linked, including 1,557 (27%) who had died. The researchers found a significant association between chronic pain and all-cause mortality. Particularly troublesome was severe chronic pain — survival among persons with this condition was significantly worse than among those reporting mild or no chronic pain. Even after adjusting for various confounding sociodemographic factors and effects of long-term illness, patients with severe chronic pain had a 49% greater risk of death compared with all-cause mortality and a 68% greater risk of death compared with all cardiovascular-disease-related deaths.

COMMENT: The negative impact of severe chronic pain on survival discovered by this research is dramatic and concerning; especially when considering the recent brouhaha about purportedly high risks associated with analgesic agents, particularly opioids. In an objective risk-benefit analysis, it would appear from this study that the increased mortality risks associated with untreated or inadequately treated chronic pain could pose a greater threat than any hazards potentially associated with pain-relieving medication therapies. In brief — and this is admittedly a strong way of putting it — any restrictions on access to effective therapies for severe chronic pain might be tantamount to fostering premature death in the afflicted patients. *As always, reader comments are welcomed.*

REFERENCE: Torrance N, Elliott AM, Lee AJ, Smith BH. Severe chronic pain is associated with increased 10 year mortality. A cohort record linkage study. Eur J Pain. 2010(Apr);14(4):380-386 [abstract here].

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could the higher mortality be from medication problems/overdoses?

SB. Leavitt, MA, PhD said...

Good question (above). The researchers examined, and controlled for, a large number of potentially confounding factors. One would expect that medication-related problems or overdoses would be a very small factor contributing to overall mortality in these cases, if it is significant at all. -- SBL

Reta Russell Houghton said...

I doubt the medication angle, I think it was more cardiovascular. I know from personal experience that I have developed high blood pressure as the result of my chronic pain. Luckily, my HBP is under control. But during periods of high pain my BP can rise 30-35 points, even with medication. Then there is the mental aspect, the depression and insomnia compound the chronic pain. These open up the body to other illnesses as the defenses are worn down by this downward spiral.
RRH

michael Ellner said...

Severe Chronic Pain is a Killer - Certified Hypnosis Practitioners Can Help

Consider this, every time your patients close their eyes and take a deep breath, they can access a self-hypnotic resource permitting them to take advantage of the fact that their state of mind can either undermine or bolster their coping skills and abilities and thus help or inhibit their natural capacity to cope with pain.

FYI- Robert Aurbach and I named our recently published peer reviewed paper "Hypnosis in Disability Settings" instead of "Hypnosis in PAIN MANAGEMENT Settings" because our paper was being published in a journal that serves Injury Boards and Accident Commissions.

Our paper focuses on utilizing self-hypnosis training to help people with debilitating pain increase their coping skills and abilities and return to work. I believe that we have demonstrated the feasibility of studying and utilizing self-hypnosis training regimens offered by properly trained and certified hypnosis professionals as a supplement to conventional Pain Management.

Stewart B. Leavitt and the IAIABC Journal were kind enough to give you access to our paper here:
Hypnosis in Disability [Pain] Settings
Ellner M, Aurbach R. IAIABC (International Association of Industrial Accident Boards & Commissions) Journal. 2009(fall);46(2):57-70.
Hypnosis is an effective intervention for the treatment of injured and ill workers, providing assistance with chronic pain, stress and coping with external stressors, insomnia, depression, and fostering a positive mental attitude. A self-hypnosis training regimen offered by qualified professionals offers a brief and measurable intervention, resulting in a likelihood of positive outcomes in pain management.

 Download PDF:
http://pain-topics.org/pdf/Hypnosis-in-Disability-Pain.pdf (370 KB, 21 pp)

Please read our paper...

Pat said...

Of course those with severe chronic pain are at higher risk.... of suicide, if pain cannot be controlled.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pat. Doctors not only don't treat pain with compassion, but they ignore the depression completely.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this article. I have had severe chronic pain for many years now. I have had relief from acupuncture. However, what saved my life was finding a doctor who put me on continuous pain meds, and then breakthrough pain meds. I am still in pain, but I can cope.

Russell B said...

Michael Ellner and their self hypnosis theory may work to a certain extent but as far as taking someone the is in excruciating pain and has been for years and controlling that pain enough for them to go back to work I'm afraid you will never make a believer out of me.
I took an extensive biofeedback coarse several years ago and yes I was able to lower my temperature, pulse rate, Blood pressure, but as soon as the lights come up, the music went off and I got out of that comfy little chair I was in I was right back in the hell I was in when I walked in there. I think there is a place for what you are referring to but for someone who has suffered debilitating pain for 20 years + I think High Dose Opiates is the only choice they have unless it can be corrected surgically which I'm afraid mind can't. I thank God for the paper Dr. Leavitt put out not to long ago ultra High opioids: When "to much" is just right. My Doctor put a great deal of faith in Dr. Leavitt and for that reason I guess you could say I owe Dr. Leavitt my life. Thank you Doctor for publishing such a well documented paper. I owe you more than words can express.

brenboo1 said...

I am a person with chronic pain. I have had 2 spinal fusions, FBSS (failed back surgery syndrome), spinal stenosis, scoliosis due to 2 fusions, DDD (degenerative disc disease), very common, etc.
From my experience, for the last 15 years, I have been inadequately medicated with opiates. This causes less activity, due to the severity of the pain. Cause and effect.
But getting back to the mortality rate, I would think that it is the inadequate opiate treatment. The opiates are lifesaving. Yes, we do become dependent on the opiates. There is a thin line between addiction and dependence.
When you experience pain day after day, it does wear on you. I have acquired hypertension, controlled with medicine. I run out of steam, I can barely walk. I thank GOD that I can still walk even though it is very difficult. I do use a cane. But, everyday I must force myself to walk. I only walk to local stores,a block or two away.
How many deaths by overdose, I'm not sure of statistics. Rarely are they announced in newspaper obits. But I would think the mental and physical wear and tear everyday would make one very unhealthy.
I myself used to weight lift, hike, ride horses, played softball, etc. I was athletic. You lose all of that, and your social life. You are also stigmatized and thought of as a "junkie" or "doper", whatever people may think or judge.
Just another point of view from a person experiencing chronic pain every day.

Charles said...

Having suffered from chronic pain for 40 years, I must agree that pain management is critical. I have become hypertensive with episodes of uncontrolled pain over the years. God knows what this has done to the walls of my arteries. It can't be pretty. Ten years ago, I flunked two cardiac stress tests and a cardiac catheterization. I did the same again two and a half years ago. While genetic predisposition for heart disease exists in my paternal extended family, I can't help but believe that 40 years of chronic pain have exacerbated my symptoms. Although I am using powerful narcotics, I have become largely tolerant to them. So, again, I have uncontrolled chronic pain.

One interesting aspect to this is the effect of chronic inflammation. My spinal nerve roots have been severely damaged and inflamed for many years. The inflammation generated by collapsed vertebra and continual spinal stenosis can't be good. One is left to wonder how much arterial damage is caused by chronic inflammation and whether a medication intervention is hopeful.

Charles
Csw2@bex.net

Lotacats said...

When I was under treated for Chronic Pain my blood pressure went into the red zone (way too high) and I developed cardiac arrhythmia. It was going on MsContin that helped that and keeping break thru meds as well.

The body will only take that much stress on a daily basis just so long before it reacts with it.

There is no doubt in my mind pain will kill.

It's the opiate that has blocked the chronic spasms that go along with my illness that causes so much pain. Those drugs save lives ongoing.

Anonymous said...

As one who has suffered from severe chronic pain for 10 years, I would venture to guess that suicide is one of the major factors leading to the high mortality rate. I wonder how many of the 1557 had committed suicide. I agree with the comment. There is far too much worry about the negative impacts of opioids. I am another person who would not be alive were it not for opiods. We need to do more to educate the public that we do not take opiods for the "high." In fact there is no "high" when you have severe chronic pain; there is merely a lessening of the pain.

Anonymous said...

I do not find the conclusion reported in this specific study suprising. As a survivor of CRPS/RSD,I have noticed a definite coraltion between declining health and chronic pain.

Anonymous said...

I find this information confirms what I have felt for years: that chronic pain is doing my body harm, and that under-treatment of that pain causes elevated blood pressure, increased muscle spasm, MORE pain, and stress that will, eventually, kill. Even family members who love me are horrified to learn that I take opiods on a regular basis. This does not make me a monster; it allows me a little bit more of a normal life. I still have times when I am in way too much pain, much of it nerve pain related to spinal issues that are all too familiar to many chronic pain patients. We need help to overcome the social stigma attached to legitimate use of pain medications.

Anonymous said...

As a chronic pain patient I can tell you one thing for sure pain controll is Critical if you want to live. I have been going to a pain clinic now for 11 years and I was very suicidal prior to getting in this one. I have high b/p and the pain meds have helped control it. I have gone thru many miserable days but like one earlier post states i can cope since i got on pain meds. If you are supervised and don't abuse your meds I am proof you can live a pretty healthy life. If I have to live with alot of pain I just as soon not live. My pain clinic Dr. has taken good care of me and my husband monitors my meds so I don't abuse them and that works well for me. One thing we got to remember is we cannot get completely out of pain but we can live with some pain and be moderately comfortable. I was a nurse for twenty years and worked in a busy emergency room and never dreamed I would ever take narcotic's but if that is what works so be it. It works and I am so happy that we do have access to pain clinic's . I thank who ever invested in the first pain clinic. Another thing there are many factors associated with cardio vascular disease and I don't think you can state this or that is the factor its a combination of meds, enviromental, genetics, diet and so on so I think it is up to the individual to see what is causing there problem. I got on steroids and that is one reason I gained weight and that made me have high b/p too. Diane

theblondielou said...

I don't think the goal is to take the person back to full time employment of the type they had before (but perhaps another employment of much less stress, part time employment, employment of 5 to 10 hours a week or no employment but titration of pain to effect so that the person can live a life worth living with friends and family; with perhaps fulfilling hobbies and interests done at a level that they can do when their pain and health issues allow them to do so)....

But most importantly handling the pain as much as is possible and hopefully thus dealing with depression.... Doing whatever is possible by medical means to handle pain fully, handle depression completely, deal with each and every health issue the patient has and then the patient is in the best state possible to live a life that can be as fulfilling as possible within that person's health framework....

Good health to us all....

Anonymous said...

I have suffered with RSD for 14 yrs, & need opoids to live & riase my 2 active young boys ( that I would never have been able to even have without proper pain manangement). It's very frustrating the hoops I now jump through to be abel to get my mophine, & someone said it above - when you are in chronic severe pain, there is no high when taking opoids, only a bit of pain relief. I now also have a spinal cord stimulator & am abel ot work full time, rasie the kids, drive (I'm not drowsy at all) - I live on opoids for pain relief + other drugs. I believe the stress alone from the chronic never ending pain your in all day & night is enough to raise blood pressure (causeing cardio vascular issues) , also raising stress hormones (cortisol, etc..) is linked to lots of things including cancers, cardio vascular problems,etc.. I always thought that my chronic pain was causeing me harm.

Anonymous said...

There are not only physical scars left from being untreated, there are psychological scars from being inadequately treated and made to feel like you have done something wrong, just because you are in pain. Even though, after 8 years, I finally found a compassionate pain specialist, I still feel the stigma and judgments while seeing other Doctors who think they know better. After time, it wears on you and you start losing faith in the medical community in general.

I have such anxiety every time I have to see a doctor and this is directly related to how I have been treated over the years. I didn't do anything to deserve this kind of treatment, was passed around for years with no help for my pain, went through expensive and painful treatments that did not help, jumped through all their hoops and then was made to feel bad just because I want my pain managed!!! It's not right. Doctors need to become educated about what chronic pain does to patients not only physically but mentally! I'm tired of getting interrogated because of the medications I chose to take and am getting legitimately from a Pain Doctor.

I work full time, go to school, care for a child and function at a very high rate for my medical condition, but this doesn't seem like a good enough reason to keep taking pain medication for some Doctors. It's not like I quit life once they came along. In fact, I can now do some of the things I used to and have some quality of life back. Its like my life doesn't matter to them at all and my suffering is not worth their time. They act like we LIKE to take these medications, its beyond ridiculous and seems to be getting worse, not better.

Anonymous said...

I too suffer from severe chronic pain. It's so difficult for familes and friends to understand my limitations because they can't see anything wrong on the outside (besides the fact that my looks and weight have deteriorated). I constantly have to defend myself from people who think I don't do enough or am not active enough. I had severe depression and had to have counseling where I have learned that If I know I am doing my best then it doesn't matter what others think. It helped alot. I've also managed to cut my medication down and am losing weight and doing more every week. I do however need to take pain meds for breakthrough pain or whenever I overdo it. I am slowing learning my own limitations and have to ignore other's opinions.

Anonymous said...

As a person struck with chronic pain from serious injuries/surgeries/chronic joint disease and kidney/liver disease by the time I was 27 I can tell you the highest risk... is fighting the urge to kill yourself when it's really bad. There is no relief and your friends/family do not understand the struggle. It actually makes them pissed off and uncomfortable. They tell you things like it's in your head or you just need to deal with it. I was an extremely active person. personal trainer. fitness athlete. extreme sports. I was in the best shape out of anyone I knew and I have now been crippled on and off for the last 16 years. There is NOT a day that goes by without pain. Sometimes there are months that go on and on without any relief. I don't use painkillers because of my kidney disease unless I'm ready to kill myself from the pain. What I can tell you is that marijuana is a medical miracle for a person like me. It's not legal where I live but it's mandatory for me to keep working and surviving each day. I can't take the legal drugs unless I want to end up on dialysis before I'm 50. My approach may be unconventional to some but I really don't care. You don't know what it's like to suffer severely for years and years on end... all i can say to people who don't have this- try to be open minded because I swear to you, you would change your mind if it were YOU about doing whatever was necessary to get by.

Anonymous said...

While the study is frightening, the findings are not surprising at all. I've got three illnesses all causing severe chronic pain as well. Rather than repeat what's been said, I'd just like to thank everyone for sharing and helping me feel less alone in my suffering. As you all know, it's impossible to imagine unless you've lived with severe chronic pain for many years.

Anonymous said...

It's even a little surprising that a study would be necessary to draw this conclusion (although I'm glad it did) because it seems like the most common refrain in American medicine is "stress kills." And, as many have ably stated, there is no stress quite like pain. When it is acute, the body goes into shock, which itself is life threatening, even though its function is protective. It is an essential biological function of the human body to respond to pain. Pain tells us to get out of the fire, to close our eyes to smoke; it tells us to go get help when injured, to DO something to correct what the body knows is a threat. How could it not be stressful - even just in purely biological terms - for the body to be in a state of perpetual, unmitigable pain?
Severe chronic pain would depress anyone. It is terrifying to be in pain. It has driven many people to their deaths and it should have been acknowledged long ago how great a danger is posed by untreated and by undertreated pain. Depression is alleviated when a person feels they have some degree of control over the circumstances of their lives, and can exercise that control. Witholding adequate pain medication, or (as some doctors and insurance companies are doing in my state) causing people to run out of pain medication between prescriptions and go into withdrawl, should be considered medical malpractice. And, since insurance companies and Pharmacy Benefit Management Companies so freely intervene between doctor and patient, often effectively preventing appropriate treatment, it is high time they were sued by class action for endangering the lives of patients and for practicing medicine without a license. And there is certainly enough blame leftover to spread some to pharmaceutical manufacturers who are charging such astronomical prices for even generic versions of some important pain medications that thousands of patients have lost their access to these life savers altogether. Studies like this, and those that document the financial costs to society (to businesses and taxpayers) of un- and undertreated pain, are important because without them we may never see any regulation of this area of medicine.

Lastly, I want to point out that I DO UNDERSTAND why people don't want to believe the claims of those of us who live with chronic pain (though such unbelief has caused me more suffering even than the terrible pain of my disease). I actually believe it is a natural protective mechanism - I've experienced it myself. You look at someone whose life has gone to hell in a handbasket, who has lost everything they cherished, whose life NEVER gets any better, only worse, and you NEED to believe that they had a hand in bringing this on themselves, or in perpetuating it, or you need to believe they are exaggerating, maybe even making it up. Because if all of that misery can befall a totally innocent person...... well, it would stand to reason then that .... that it could happen to ME! THAT is the thought that is intolerable. THAT is a possibility that most people cannot admit, that they cannot allow to be true, for it would shatter the illusion that life is predictable, that one can count on being rewarded for one's labors and one's vigilence. For those whose lives are comfortable, who have been richly blessed, that illusion probably is what keeps them going, gets them out of bed in the morning. I have to admit, it was lovely while it lasted.

Now I can usually spot right off those people who have been humbled by tragedy. They wear no armor. They make no claim of superiority. They have learned to live with their vulnerability. They understand that there is a whole world of woe with which they are not yet familiar, and for that they are grateful. And somehow, this tends to make them glow.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from chronic pain and I am very grateful to have a compassionate and knowledgeable pain management doctor who prescribes adequate doses of opioids. My life has improved exponentially!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to all that live in constant chronic pain. No one understands unless they themselves have experienced a bout of pain.

Although mine is not chronic, only episodes....Atypical Facial pain.Comes and goes, never know when...2-3 days or a couple of weeks at a time. Yes my BP goes way up too, along with insomnia & depression. Having no health insurance and limted income doesn't help.

All those in favor of having a "Virtual Reality" pain experience for many of these Doctors who just do not get it. We don't take the pain meds to get high!!!!

Take care everyone, one day at a time!!!!!

Anonymous said...

My husband is afraid to switch to a better insurance, he is on disability with Medicare, because his doctor won't be covered by it. Thus he has high co-pays and a high deductible, unusual with a decent Medicare Advantage policy. If he knew that other doctors were compassionate about pain management, perhaps he would not have this fear.

I myself did switch and tomorrow I am dreading telling my new pcp what I am taking to make my pain bearable. I know it is not going to fly; it certainly is not standard. Every med I take is legitimate; however not the way I take them. I feel I am taking as little as I possibly can and still have some sort of life. Neither one of us was in this condition when we first met. Age, of course, makes everything worse.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in finding out how many people acquired Diabetes after chronic pain. I receive pain management by my Internal Medicine Specialist after coming to an appointment in withdrawal due to a doctor's negligence. The lesson I learned was to trust my doctor and ask for help; a physician with ethics is required to treat you. Like the researcher in the article, there are sensible and compassionate people out there so don't give up on yourself.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem that complicated. Pain interferes with the person being able to engage in normal healthy behaviors - regular exercise, getting enough sleep, etc. On another note, it causes stress by interfering in the person's relationships, job, home responsibilities, etc. Even a person without pain who didn't get enough sleep and exercise, and who was constantly under stress could face an earlier death.

Mike said...

I am 52 y/o & started having back pain @ age 25. I worked in retail grocery business (alot of heavy lifting). My first surgery was 1983 (25 y/o). Second was1month later & a 3rd on 4/84. I had 2 ruptered discs & took the CT SCAN from my home town to Houston, Tx. & the Dr. in Houston found the 2 ruptured discs. No one would believe a 25 y/o could have back problems. I had scar tissue develop around my spine & now have spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, another ruptured disc & surgery in '96 (could not walk when that rupture hit). My family Dr. Thought I was "drug seeking" & refused to give Rx. Pain meds. I finally went to a pain specialist & still go. I now am facing 2 more possible surgeries. One for stenosis & one to fuse L4 & L5. I have had severe anxiety & depression, can't focus on day to day activities. People have judged me as a junkie, drug seeking, "you just have to deal with it." I have had numerous issues related to my pain & suicidal thoughts in the past. You just don't see a way out. The only thong that has helped is Rx. pain meds. I am off work right now & am facing permanent disability retirement, no sleep whatsoever even with Ambien. I am a Licensed Addictions Counselor & people who think you don't need pain meds don't know what they are talking about. Society, including Dr's need more education & understanding about chronic pain. I have found that some of my condition is genetic. I know it affects my health in other ways. TO ALL DR.'s WE NEED HELP.

Celia Harrison said...

Since I know the FDA in this country is full of flexians from the drug industry who manipulate to get their drugs appproved and keep policies in their interests I am very distrustful of any research. I checked to see if I could get any clues about possible connections. Well, it was a European journal and the editorial staff is from all over the world. That means I would trust the results more than if it was done in the United States. There are some with chronic pain who must take narcotics for sure and they should not be made to feel bad about this. I know from experience with chronic pain that most doctors know little or nothing about alternatives to narcotics however and even if someone has to take narcotics they could decrease how much if they implement some things. For example eating sugar increases pain and eating olive oil decreases it. Of course providing information takes a lot of time and writing out a script takes little time. I hate taking narcotics because they make me severely depressed, so I have done a lot of research.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pat, from above, as well -- and yes, there's going to be depression [of course people in immense pain every waking moment are gonna tend toward being depressed... it's certainly not a happy thing]... but before I finally found a doctor to help me ten years ago, and was going to give it three-four more months of fighting...

... I wasn't going to be committing suicide because of depression; I was reluctantly going to kill myself as the only form of pain relief I was able to find. Any family members, doctors, or anyone, who thinks that they would want to keep on living even if they have felt like someone has hit their 'funny bone' with a hammer -- every moment of every day for 2 1/2 years... well, I'm sure free hammers can be arranged. :)

Alas, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, even the heartless I found over the years. It's too painful and I wouldn't want anyone in that pain.

If not for a handful of good and brave folks, and one especially brave and true doctor [who received the usual reward for being brave and honorable that has been seen throughout history], I would have been in pain and annoyed, and ultimately very calculating and methodical about it, but it would not have been done because of depression.

hubbard said...

I don't know about this but I do know that I have had pain 24/7 for the past 6 1/2 yrs. I am now looking at finding which hospital is the best for treating RSD and who does the most research! Anyone that has a clue about any of this, I am open to anything at this point! Thanks so much.
Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Sally, R.N., M.S.
I have had chronic, severe pain for 10 years despite multiple surgeries (after my car was hit by a bus and I developed back and neurological injuries.)

In reading many posts of those who responded: many gave credit for their pain relief to pain specialists. The only pain specialist in my area denied me adequate medication and erroneously said that my issue was depression and not pain. In addition, one of my children did not understand the origin of my stress/suicial ideation/pain relationship and--sadly-- I haven't seen her nor my grandchild in five years. Luckily, another child has been more supportive.

Those of you who are supported and have found some relief through medication are blessed (since I haven't yet been sucessfully medicated.)

Despite setbacks, I sought help from a pain counselor and began meditation to relieve pain and decrease stress. I am currently on a non-opiate pain med. My BP is normal. My triglycerides and LDL are slightly elevated-- although I'm taking a statin. I'm looking into alternative forms of treatment (such as acupuncture or hypnosis.)

Medications (when available) may only do so much and then are usually increased or switched with others to provide relief when tolerance develops (as a natural physiological event.) That's why it's important that all methods of pain relief be explored.

Those who haven't experienced chronic pain may be ignorant of its effects and are probably not as motivated as we can be to find a way to improve our well-being!

I wish peace to all who suffer (and may you find comfortable longevity!)

Anonymous said...

I have very severe fibromyalgia and my pain level does stay at a constant full body pain level around 8 to 9. My rheumatoligust has tried me on Savella, Lyrica, Cymbalta,Amtripiline and all of these medicines taking seperatly trying to find one medicine that will work. Well all of these medicines I have mentioned, unfortanately, I have had very serious bad side effects. So my doctor has me on Flexeril 2xday which does nothing for my pain(worthless). This doctor has tried me with aquatic pool theropy, no help with pain and after this theropy I am in bed for two days and can not move with 8,9 pain still. I have tried yoga and other light exersize, no help with my pain level. My Rheumy doctor does not want me on narcotic pain medicine and did referred me over to a pain management clinic doctor and he says no to narcotic medicine, I told doctor about new research showing that chronic pain does causes brain atrophy, decreasing gray matter in my brain. Pain management agrees with me about this research and tells me not to worry about this right now, he tells me to go do "ATERNATIVE MEDICINE" , no narcotic's. He gave me 14 trigger point injections today. No help so far although I am hoping for some relief? I am so truly DESQUSTED RIGHT NOW!! I am still suffering for no reason and very upset. I really do not know how much longer I can last like this, it has been going on one year straight with 8,9 pain levels.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the prior postings---pain relief and pain management is a blessing to those of us suffering with chronic pain and pain specialists who are attentive, engaged and non-judgmental and soothes the wounds of intolerance and ignorance that are so prevalent in our society. I have suffered from several auto immune disorders which triggered chronic pain syndromes. I have 30+ years if negative responses and incompetence by the medical professionals and this consistent negative feedback loop has left me often in despair; isolated, fearful, angry. The realization that I will die at an early age is not a surprise. I have discussed and planned for this event with my immediate family, socializing my son to the reality that chronic pain may kill me someday but I am fighting like hell to be present every day with a positive attitude. I refuse to become disabled, still work full time and am completing a Ph.D.-the fourth college degree. This is the only way I know how to make sense out of something so unfair and make my life have meaning with a body that refuses to cooperate and a medical culture that finds the chronic pain patient a failure of their professional mastery and therefore something to sweep aside as irrelevant or embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Severe fibro post I feel very bad for you I am going through the exact same thing you are but going on 6 yes of pain I'm just31 my doc had me on narcotics and they have worked greatly loricet and norco to be exact and he will not give anymore it doesn't make sense at all my whole family laughs about these docs you tell them what's working and they say OK were not going to prescribe that anymore I am going to be going to a pain clinic but I will refuse getting a shot not sure what's in that and I hate needles I hate to think like this but it almost seems to me if the govt has caused fibromyalgia and all these diseases causing this pain and jst want us to suffer I'm getting fed up and I'm sure you are too

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Pain Can Kill! I have severe spinal stenosis, sciatica, osteoarthritis plus for going on 4 years now and I do believe the only reason I am alive is Pain meds... and even with them I still have high pain levels on the days I pretend to be healthy and try to do something most every normal person does without even realizing what a GIFT your health and being pain free is!! Yes - I am concerned about the long term affects of the meds but at least I have a long term to think about. In the earlier days I must say I contemplated just ending it to put me out of my misery but I used prayer to help me find an answer and get me through..... so pray and medicate so you CAN live!! JAMA22

Anonymous said...

My spouse suffered multiple leg injuries in an accident 20 years ago RESULTING IN OVER 20 SURGERIES. Pain medication was improper for many years but after changing doctors, medication is better though much pain still exists. I know there is dependence on medications and I am sure they are helpful, but lately I can see an addiction to exercise which causes more emotional problems, the anxiety is more intense lately, and of course the meds do not relieve the pain. My pain comes from caring for someone with cronic pain with such an intense will to fight a losing battle. I PRAY WITH THEM AND ALL OF YOU AS WE LIVE ON WITH MEDS AND THE GIFT EACH DAY BRINGS, NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT THE BATTLE IS. US WHO CARE DON'T FEEL THE PHYSICAL PAIN BUT SOMETIMES THE EMOTIONAL STRESS IS DIFFICULT ALSO. I WISH there was a better solution for all but for now we just have to hope one will happen soon.

Good luck to you all

Anonymous said...

Medical Marijuana helps alleviate and take the edge off the pain. Depending on the severity of the pain it may be able to alleviate completely. Certain marijuana strains are also known to help with some depression. Some people may not agree, but it is an option. And, I don't believe know one has overdosed on marijuana.I wish u peace from your pain...

Anonymous said...

I've been in chronic pain since 1993 and in severe chronic pain since 1998. If I hadn't been listened to and treated effectively since 1999, there is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't still be here. In 1998, I prayed for a condition that would end my life. I have no fear of the afterlife, I'm well aware that for some people, hell can be in waking up to face another day. I'm very grateful for my doctor's compassion and good sense. It's also been clear to me that once my pain system was damaged, my general health deteriorated and I now have several health conditions.

Anonymous said...

I have had severe chronic pain for over seven years now.I am amazed at the lack of compassion from e.r. doctors who look at me and assume that i'm lying,and trying to get narcotics...they're right,i am trying to get narcotics...not to get high,but to relieve this evil pain that has plagued me...i know as a fact that pain pills are keeping me alive...i also know that if those doctors had my pain that they would do the same thing i am in order to kill the pain.I've had doctors tell me that it's my right to kill myself (while they reject my pleas for help)...are you telling me my children have to go without a dad because a "doctor" is afraid to give me pain relief>???he's more concerned about himself than about others....anyone who has severe chronic pain knows what a blessing it is to have a dr. listen to their problems and to help them with opiates.....like ive said in the past and have thought a thousand times before...If famikly members and "friends" even had a clue about the amount of pain i live with daily,then they would be the last to judge me....i haven't abused my pain medication....am i an addict??....i am dependent on my pain meds to give me another day of a "normal" life......i wouldn't wish my condition on my worst enemy...i am glad that i accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour,because i know that this pain will not last forever.
I truly have compassion for those in pain.If you know anyone living in pain,please,pray for them ,but also try and help them...listen to them...try not to judge them ...if you had severe pain,what would you do???
I woke up this morning at a level 10 for pain,but i thank God because i know that a thousand years from now (or 1000.....I WILL BE IN HEAVEN WALKING THE STREETS OF GOLD,NOT BECAUSE I "EARNED " IT....OR BECAUSE I'M GOOD ENOUGH, BUT BECAUSE JESUS SAVED MY SOUL.....THROUGH FAITH....PLEASE GET SAVED TODAY.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."....ACTS 16:31

MR, MD said...

I found this page because I was looking for any reports on increased risk for vascular disease in chronic pain patients - I now have 4 female patients (around 50 years old)who have developed severe aorto-iliac occlusive disease. Interesting but perhaps not surprising that the hazard ratio for circulatory system mortality was as high as 1.69. Fits with chronic pain involving a diffuse inflammatory process....

SB. Leavitt, MA, PhD said...

Thank you, “MR, MD” (immediately above) for your comment on this older posting. It is interesting that it garnered so many comments from patients and hardly any from healthcare providers. Is this of little importance to practitioners? The subject also appears to be one of those “inconvenient truths” that has been overlooked in recent research lamenting the harms of opioid analgesics (see recent UPDATE here).

Anonymous said...

I am a one if those people that suffers from severe chronic pain. This is, to say the least the most frustrating and depressing illness. I really do not believe that ANY Doctor or Hypnotic professional can actually relax anyone that surfers severe chronic debilitating pain. It would be an impossible task. Such people, most have no idea what this kind of pain Is because they have never experienced it. Unless you have "been there and felt it", you have no idea what the person that Is suffering from it feels like on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I have followed these posts with great interest; I am both a chronic pain sufferer and occupational therapist who has worked with people with chronic pain for over 20 years. I found this blog because despite the fact that I teach self-help strategies, pacing, mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga etc, I KNOW that there are adequate medication to keep pain manageable is incredibly important. It's not an either/or, it should be medication/procedures AND self help strategies, No one should be shamed and denied adequate pain relief and the stigmatisation that comes with the use of opiates. We as health professionals need to get off our high horse and really listen and respect our patients' stories. I have a small - but significant - group of patients who it is really clear need high dose opiates to simply lead a life with some semblance of normality. The stress for these patients of being disbelieved/denied their meds simply heightens the suffering and pain. Thank you everyone for your honesty and courage in putting your stories out there. Only by getting more coverage of the topic of chronic pain will changes come about.

richard said...

I'm a 35 yr old guy, was in great shape, have always had minor aches in the lower thoracic area, about 3 yrs ago my back pain started getting noticeably worse, about 3 months ago the pain become debilitating and I finally quit being stubborn and let my wife take me to the e.r. the Dr never checked me at all!!!! Ordered 4 shots , gave me script for flexeril, naproxen, and vicodan. I finally got a little relief with the vicodan, got an appointment with local dr, xrays of thoracic spine were taken, xray results were moderate levoscoliosis, anterior spondylisis, and degenerative disc disease, dr prescribed naproxen, flexeril, and diclofenac. They are not giving me any relief at all. Pain level is getting worse by the day.

Rae C said...

I have severe debillitating pain and suffer from migraines on top of it. I can understand how this can take a toll on the body. The other problem I have, is I can not take pain meds! They have tried many, many to help eleviate my pain, but I have reactions to them. Usually vomiting and migraines. I am on two meds to keep my migraines under control, but that does not help my pain. The meds are BP and seizure meds.
I am not a candidate for surgery to repair the herniated and fractured discs in my spine because they the bones would just continue to deteriotate. I have an autistic teenage son that I have to care for with little or extrutiating pain. It doesn't stop.

Rae C said...

I suffer from all of those, if you have a Spinal Clinic near you, I would suggest making an appointment with them. I can't take pills, but have heard from others that after awhile, they become use to them and then need a higher dose.
I go to a Spinal Doctor and receive a cortozone steroid shot in my lumbar spine, to take away some of the pain. It is not 100% but my pain level goes down and I can at least walk and move with less pain for 8 months. To me, that is a blessing. Do your research, doctors don't know everything, and you know your body best and don't ever be afraid to speak up if something isn't working.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that there is NO Doctor and especially NO hypnotist that either understands or can treat severe chronic pain via psycho-babble or hypnotism. I also agree only those who suffer severe chronic pain can really know how debilitating it is and how miserable it makes them feel. I believe that medication PLUS therapeutic treatment PLUS support from family and doctor and staff does help alleviate severe chronic pain. I DO NOT believe that far eastern philosophy and eastern religious practices which make up a great deal of modern western psychology such as hypnotism, yoga, thinking warm pink fuzzy thoughts, etc. will alleviate severe chronic pain in any way. Empirically proven and established western medical treatment (i.e. opiate analgesic pain meds) CAN alleviate severe chronic pain.

p carver said...

I spent years suffering. After a spinal cord stimulator I suffered thru the rehab. I thought coming off pain meds and doing the best I could was the best thing. That is what every one says... It made me worse. My body being contorted from the pain only led to other issues with my spine. Also my mental acuity was horrible. I finally found help and received morphine. It changed my life. I can work, think, sleep, and move around. For a healthy person these drugs are bad...for people like me they improve life quality and expectation. Because everyone knows people who are bed ridden have shorter life expectancies

Anonymous said...

Been in severe chronic pain from fibromyalgia, osteoarhritis everywhere, torn rotator cuffs,DDD, bulging L4- L5 disc, bouts of extreme sciatica, among other ailments. Can't find a dr who will treat me w/ pain meds along with injection proceedures. They all are so greedy they HAVE to recommend a "proceedure", (the $ makers) but balk at giving adequate doses of pain meds which actually gets me out of bed and able to have about a #6 quality of life. I feel so hopeless that Dr.s are just interested in making the big bucks and don't care about true patient care...DEA is always watching them and put the fear of God into them if they DO care enough to prescribe a narcotic but even then you are given the minimum, regardless of individual need.My pain runs from a 5 to a 9 for40 yrs now. Its hard to find a dr who empathizes at all. Then cuz you're a harder patient to treat they'll send you to an "addiction specialist" to get rid of you. Doesn't matter that if you would be treated appropriately you could actually enjoy life somewhat. What to do?

Leslie said...

Great this thread is still running, and I so empathize w/ the heartbreaking stories. I've theorized, that beyond the effects from less mobility, the stress my body experiences from day in/dayout pain for years (and any long term pain sufferer KNOWS how stressful severe pain is)actually has played a role in my slow, steady weight gain, even though I have less appetite and consume substantially less than prior to severe pain. Isn't classic hormonal/cortisol weight gain mostly abdominal, or is that a myth? Am I off base or could reducing the stress of pain help me reduce release of stress hormones that may affect weight?

Anonymous said...

I think that some of the problem is that the doctors who prescribe this medication are afraid of the D.E.A. I am lucky to have a caring, compassionate doctor, but now, even though my pain is not better and is actually getting worse, he wants to take me off the only med. that gives me any relief at all. I too believe suicide is probably a high percentage of those deaths.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from chronic,some times suvear,pain. Pain Meds changed my life for the Better.
Hypnosus may be good for Pain,but I doubt chronic. When you have Chronic Pain you can not concentrait or stay in one place long enough to concuntrate.
I am Happy,but some times Death is on your mind. As for committing suicide, I am fortunate enough to have a good Family life and in turn a good suport group. Having People with Chronic pain talk with other People in the same situation can have a positive effect( in my opinion and my experience )

Again in my opinion, I think if a Dr put a group of people together who have and are being treated for Chronic Pain, I think the chances of abuse of the Drugs and Suiced would be lowered.
Knowing you're not alone and there is other People going through the same things as you,helps.
When you talk to People who don't know what you're going through,but are empathetic can be frustrating. They mean well,but really can't understand what you go through.
PS; I just found this site and think it's great. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Just found this site I am hurting my future wife are in agony. I take mere she has no insurance and so called free Dr.s can't give her anything stinger than what's over the counter drugs (Otc) she is highly gallergic to. as well as having epilepsy. so having all this pain and nobody seems to care including her parents (mine do). so what can I do? I am disabled as well. though I was very active before chronic pain and surgery on neck with arthritis spreading everywhere. I apm no down for the count. signed spent before my time. someone plz help. btw she needs surgery badly now could be life or death.