All posts tagged: opioids

NY Times: The Opioid Dilemma: Saving Lives in the Long Run Can Take Lives in the Short Run

What does forced opioid tapering do to chronic pain and illness patients? “In the short term, many policies that would limit opioid prescriptions for the purpose of saving lives would cause people to turn to heroin or fentanyl. In fact, over a 5-to-10-year period, that would increase deaths, not decrease them, according to a simulation study published in the American Journal of Public Health.”  That’s not exasperation with the article’s author, Austin Frakt. I’m extremely happy he brought attention to this on such a big platform. My exasperation comes from the fact that this conclusion is SO. DAMN. OBVIOUS. How many patients need to commit suicide before anyone listens to us? “Amie Goodin, a researcher with the University of Florida College of Pharmacy who wrote an editorial accompanying the opioid policy simulation study, said, ‘Current policies to limit opioid prescriptions leave some pain patients high and dry, resulting in a new wave of unintended consequences for patients with untreated chronic pain.‘” Read this article here. Advertisements

New Report: Flipping the Script: Living with Chronic Pain amid the Opioid Crisis

The folks at Neurometrix just published a new report regarding their survey of 1,500 Americans living with a variety of chronic pain conditions. The results were startling (and hey hey, I’m quoted on pg. 7!): As the opioid crisis continues to make headlines, the chronic pain community has found themselves in the midst of this chaos – grappling with how to manage their conditions under increased scrutiny. We wanted to get a better understanding of how the opioid epidemic is impacting this community, so we partnered with Vanson Bourne to survey 1,500 Americans living with a wide range of chronic pain conditions about their feelings around the opioid epidemic, opioid use and their ongoing search for alternative treatments. We’ve compiled the findings in our latest report, “Flipping the Script: Living with Chronic Pain amid the Opioid Crisis.” Below are just a few of the top findings you’ll see in the report: The unfair stigma as a result of the opioid epidemic: The majority of respondents (84 percent) believe a stigma exists, and as a result, 50 percent …

Contributor: Go Holistic for Pain Management

The best approach for pain management, especially long-term chronic pain, is holistic. Pain-killing medication is avoided — as well as their associated side effects, such as an addiction to prescription pain killers.  Holistic therapies are often more effective, too. The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that, of the 20.5 million Americans age 12 or older who had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million people had a substance use disorder involving prescription medicine.  The holistic way is totally natural, and the benefits are far beyond pain management.  As the population ages because of longer lifespans, chronic pain has become a bigger issue, the most common of which is lower back pain, followed closely by migraines and neck problems. Less stress using a holistic approach The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has advised that there is growing evidence suggesting complementary approaches are working for pain management.  Holistic therapies change the way the person perceives pain, and this can be as a direct result of reduced stress …

Contributor: Herbs for Helping with Chronic Back Pain

It can be tempting and convenient to reach for the pills when it comes to chronic pain, especially in the back. However, strong medication often has its adverse side effects that sometimes outweigh the benefits. There are numerous natural alternatives when it comes to pain relief that can be worth checking out. For thousands of years, native plants like herbs have been used in aid of relieving bodily pain and discomfort. Let’s take a look at some herbs that can help with chronic back pain. Ginger Ginger is known for its numerous healing properties, including the ability to calm an upset stomach and subside overwhelming feelings of nausea. But recent research has shown that it just might be the perfect remedy for chronic pain issues as well. Another property that ginger has shown promise is inflammation. While there haven’t been too many studies that can conclusively state how effective ginger is in relieving inflammation, it is known that it has some benefits. The presence of phytochemicals in the ginger extract help with this. The other …

Everybody Has Something Wrong With Them

Everybody has something wrong with them. I don’t care who you are or how many marathons you’ve run or how loud you are about it, but literally everybody on this planet, no matter how young or old, has something inside that is actively working against them. That young boy bicycling to school has Type I diabetes. The teacher shepherding students into the classroom has arthritis. The school bus driver has sciatica that runs down her right leg. The mailman has a limp because his hip gave out after twenty years of walking his route. The old woman shuffling down the sidewalk has cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, and skin cancer from the days of tanning with baby oil. If something isn’t wrong with us when we’re born, something will go wrong. As soon as we are born we start to die, and little chips of us are broken away year after year by means of illnesses and sprains and accidents and cancers. Some people don’t even know anything is wrong yet. Two guys see their coworker struggling …

Huffington Post: How Long Have You Been Fighting the Chronic Pain System?

Check out my first article as a contributor for the Huffington Post! How long have you been in the system? The medical system, I mean. I’m talking about the chronic pain and illness patients ― like me ― who make a pilgrimage to the doctor’s office month after month, year after year, until the pain stops (or we die). PHOTO VIA VISUALHUNT   You know someone like this, since one in three people suffers from chronic pain in the United States. That’s right – between you, Mom, and Dad, statistically one of you is dealing with a physical or mental ailment that ranges from mild to debilitating, and has lasted longer than three months. That’s pretty loose criteria. I sailed by that marker about 12 years ago. When I was 17 our car was rear-ended by a man driving 65 miles per hour while we were stopped because of traffic. My aunt was the front passenger and my mother was in the driver’s seat. I could see my mom’s eyes widening in the rear-view mirror. I had …

Does Chronic Pain Need a Mascot? (My Answer? Yes.)

Readers, meet Rufus. I feel that a mascot is needed in my life. You know, a cheerleader who understands how hard life can be when feeling physically terrible and having your attention constantly split in half. Chronic pain is vague by definition; it can be widespread or localized in the body, stabbing or dull, intense or flat. We only have the unifying term of “spoonie,” which is derived from the Spoon Theory. While that does a great job of describing why we power down without warning (because we’ve “run out of spoons,” each spoon representing a daily activity), it doesn’t give me a good visual besides — well, cutlery. I wanted to show the chronic pain and illness experience, but I needed something that would also put a smile on my face. Like, “Yeah, chronic pain is exhausting and endless. Let me explain my day to you. Let me help you understand. I’ll try to make you laugh while I talk about it, because I know how depressing this topic is.”   I couldn’t design that …

The Pulse: Are Good Care and Compassion Lost in Efforts to Curb Opioid Prescriptions?

The title asks a great question. The Pulse of WHYY Radio asked that question of me in a podcast, and here is what I said! They also included the counter-perspective of a physician and health consultant, which I think was a great way to balance the conversation. Go listen to the melodious sound of my voice! It’ll air live next Friday at 9 am (I think), so if you’re in the Philadelphia/Delaware/Southern Jersey area, turn on that radio and tune in! Link again to the podcast: click here!

Pain News Network: Media Hysteria and the Opioid Crisis

Hello, my darlings! Check out my latest column for the Pain News Network! _________________________________________________________________ I recently received this email from a family member: Hi Jen, I was listening to a thing on pain medication and why prescription meds are so dangerous. They turn the receptors off in the brain and the person forgets to breathe.  That part is a totally separate thing from the pain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on talking about it. I think that is a very valid argument about overuse of pain meds. For example, Prince had very valid issues to use the meds and also lived a very clean life style. If he overused, it goes to follow that someone who doesn’t lead a clean lifestyle is in more danger. It’s not the meds as much as the brain receptors. The breathing part is scary. So I’m not such an advocate anymore…..unless you can tell me this isn’t true and why he would say that. I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you. Xoxoxox I got mad after …