About three years ago, I was chatting about pain with a friend at a social function, and she told me she was taking a prescribed opioid for her chronic pain. I quickly got the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach that comes from discussing and prescribing opioids in clinical practice. I responded with my concerns, based on solid scientific evidence: “Opioids aren’t really effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia, or chronic ...

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One of the largest problems in our ER, it seems, is that there is a subset of patients who visit us on a routine basis. Commonly known as "the regulars," these familiar faces are sprinkled throughout our day between all our other patient visits. Whether it be for chronic pain, for chronic illness, for companionship, simply to have a place to hang out for a few hours, or to get ...

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Embarrassment is a feeling of awkward self-consciousness or shame. It manifests as a sense of discomfort or even foolishness around others. Feeling embarrassed is emotionally painful because it means you feel uncomfortable with yourself. The problem with embarrassment is that it adds a layer of mental suffering to the difficulties you’re already facing with your health. Here are four reasons why those of us who are chronically ill feel embarrassed at ...

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Mindfulness and meditation.  Meditation and mindfulness.  Allow me to elaborate. I went to medical school in the 1980s.  Nobody talked about complementary and alternative approaches to healthcare or mind-body medicine.  It wasn’t because we students thought it was weird; it wasn’t even on our collective radar screen.  It was, however, out there even then.  Andrew Weil was busy in his movement toward integrative medicine, and Jon Kabat-Zinn was pioneering his Mindfulness-Based ...

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