Pain Management And The Opioid Epidemic
by Jules Shapiro

pillsUnless you have been under a rock, you know that war has been declared on the use, more specifically, the abuse of opioid medications. You probably are also aware that this nation has a staggering number of citizens living with the burden of chronic pain.

What some have not considered is the impact that this has on honest chronic pain patients. Some of us who are hit hard by changes in prescribing of opioid medications have rare diseases. We are the people who have no medications to treat our diseases, no treatments to alleviate symptoms. We rely on symptom management.

As a patient with Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, I understand pain. My expectation has never been to be completely pain-free, that is unrealistic. I hope only to have my pain managed to the point that I can live a productive life. I feel like that expectation of pain management is being threatened. Pain is one of the few things that I truly fear.

The CDC Guidelines for Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain, 2016 states:

Clinical decision making should be based on a relationship between the clinician and patient, and an understanding of the patient’s clinical situation, functioning, and life context. The recommendations in the guideline are voluntary, rather than prescriptive standards. They are based on emerging evidence, including observational studies or randomized clinical trials with notable limitations. Clinicians should consider the circumstances and unique needs of each patient when providing care.
Recommendations and Reports / March 18, 2016 / 65(1);1–49

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