Stop Telling Chronic Pain Patients to Just Accept Their Pain


From Rooted in Rights: “Not only has the opioid epidemic and the media coverage of it made many people more suspicious of pain patients who need opioid medications, but some of the large-scale steps taken to ‘fight’ the epidemic—on the part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), various state governments, the pharmaceutical industry, and others—have resulted in unintended consequences for pain patients. Telling pain patients to just ‘accept their pain’ cannot be separated from a cultural context in which pain patients in general are viewed as unreliable, as not really disabled by pain, or as exaggerating their pain to get drugs; against the background of the media blare of ‘opioids are always bad,’ pain acceptance starts to sound like a brush-off to patients instead of anything that resembles a care plan. Pain patients are not trying to avoid pain or medicate it away—we are simply trying to get some relief from the daily grind of constant pain.”

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  1. The author of this article has created a “straw man” argument for those critics of the over prescription of opiates. No reasonable critic would just say “accept your pain.”

    The author states: “Pain patients are not trying to avoid pain or medicate it away—we are simply trying to get some relief from the daily grind of constant pain.”

    The author CANNOT speak for ALL pain patients. This above statement ignores the reality that today’s medical establishment (and Big Pharma) has definitely encouraged pain patients “to avoid pain or medicate it away.” This is why their are millions of people dependent and/or addicted to opiates, and a significant percentage of those people transition to buying illicit opiates in the streets. AND far too many of these people die from overdoses.

    Long term use of opiates to treat chronic pain is an overall harmful treatment strategy that is NOT successful or backed up by science. There is research that shows that people will have worse outcomes and actually become MORE sensitive to pain (opioid induced hyper-algesia) over time.

    There are other alternatives to using opiates and other drugs to treat pain, such as meditation, CBT therapy, motion exercises, and other forms of physical therapy. Unfortunately many pain patients have become so invested (physically and psychologically) on the opiates, that they will often reject these other strategies. Here we need to blame the medical establishment (and Big Pharma) for this problem.

    No chronic pain patient should EVER be ripped off their opiate drugs. The medical establishment must invest money, time, and effort in correcting a problem of their own making. And in the mean time some of the Big Pharma CEOs should be put in jail for all the deaths and harm they have caused.


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  2. I suffer at times from chronic pain. Does meditation help? Yes, but only so much. Opiates are not the evil they are being made out to be. They may have been overprescribed to people who didn’t need them, but there are other people who do in fact need them. This is how it works: go too far in one direction (prescribing) and then have a reaction and go too far in the other direction (not prescribing) and treat those who need them as mere drug seekers looking for a thrill. This is how it works with medicine, and how it is working now.

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