Dear Dr. Archer,
I have suffered multiple injuries during my 40 years of life. I have had little difficulty receiving treatment for these injuries until the 90's, when I began to see disturbing trends in the medical profession.
Since then the policies, to my understanding are being taught by drug lobbyist-funded foundations, have all but made pain management extinct. Now I understand the views from people who have little experience with the saying, "No pain is still treated by plenty of doctors."
Let me make it a little clearer for some. A medical doctor is not a psychiatrist or psychologist, so a doctor prescribing mental health medicines for depression and other mental conditions seems more than a little funny to me.
I have tried about 30 or more different mental health medications, and they have had zero effect to subdue the agony. In some cases, they made the pain worse because of side effects and near-fatal reactions.
My point is, why are 90 percent of the medical doctors prescribing psychiatric drugs for chronic pain? Every day is a struggle now. I have no quality of life or change to hold a part-time job, even without proper treatment. I don't have any money left and I am now on government medicare.
It is reported that 65 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain, with the majority of complaints being headaches and backaches. Some chronic pain sufferers are totally incapacitated by their pain.
When Pain Management, a relatively new specialty, came into its own, the doctors who specialized in this branch of physical medicine were called Physiatrists (note spelling, not psychiatrists). They gave not only relief but also hope for a second chance at life to millions of patients.
These doctors prescribe Opioid pain killers along with other psychiatric medications, some of which are considered controlled dangerous substances with a high risk of addiction. For the person with chronic pain, they are considered miracle drugs. Unfortunately, because of the types of medication associated with the Physiatrist, there is room for abuse by doctor and patient, alike.
There's a saying, "many suffer because of the few." The majority of pain doctors are focused on helping their patients live as close to pain free lives as possible. There are millions of patients who use their medications only as prescribed, thankful for the relief they receive.
On the flip side, there are pain specialists who practice unethical procedures and patients who share or even sell their medications to those who do not have a medical need. I'm sure you've heard on national news the number of celebrity deaths and addictions to prescription drugs. It's no longer the illegal drug; rather it's the prescribed medication that is now being abused.
It is not only the drug lobbyist-funded foundations, as you stated; it is what is happening in America right here and right now. This has caused a crackdown in the pain management field. Police and the medical profession are becoming more concerned with the abuses which have ruined countless lives of those who really need the meds.
The Physiatrist is a medical doctor, just the same as an Orthopedist, Cardiologist or Psychiatrist. Each has gone through the rigors of medical school and training, and each has the capabilities of prescribing a variety of drugs.
However, most doctors, no matter what their specialty, are now leery to prescribe these very effective narcotic pain killing drugs because of past and present abuses. It may not be fair, but that is what is happening.
I am sorry you are experiencing this frustration, PR. Chronic pain is destructive to a normal , enjoyable life. My only advice to you is to try to find a doctor who specializes in pain or a pain clinic with a great reputation. Ask your family doctor or your local medical society if there is someone they could recommend.
I also suggest you write to your congressmen and senators and let them know what you are experiencing. We have to reach a middle ground to allow relief to those that continue to suffer while protecting society from the ravages of these addictive meds. I wish you much luck and success.