Stigma towards health conditions interferes with access to compassionate care. Both social stigmas from friends and family and medical stigma from professionals are issues. Perhaps the worst recent example of medical stigma is how people with HIV/AIDS were treated in the 1980s. They were isolated physically and spiritually. While in medical school a professor related that on the HIV floor the food trays were left outside the door like ...

Read more...

Our community had one of “those” providers — a midlevel who was the local pain person. If you had pain, go to her. She would write you for anything you could want and more. It’s unclear if she was unscrupulous or just inept. But last year, the DEA finally figured out what she was doing and yanked her license. There was nothing in the news. Nothing on the internet. We ...

Read more...

What if I told you that your adolescent child could contract a disease that can never be cured, but only maintained? That it would be a lifelong struggle that could change their personality, compromise their potential and values, destroy their relationships and have a long-term detrimental effect on their overall and mental health? That this disease can even be fatal, when ineffectively maintained? What if I told you that the ...

Read more...

Recently, I was at a health care facility in a semi-urban region, less than 100 miles from a major metro. It had a whiff of industry from good times that have long drifted by. I tried to locate a Starbucks. Google Maps spotted one and took me towards the local university campus. As I drove there, I noticed several pain management clinics advertising themselves in unusual ways for "relief." Once inside the ...

Read more...

One night, a woman I’ll call Tonya got a compliment from a guy when she was out with her boyfriend. Tonya’s boyfriend cursed her because another man had complimented her. He said: “You give it to everybody, I want it too.” In anticipation of his physical abuse, she reasoned, “I could go off to Wonder World.” She then injected heroin, to be “in her own world,” she later told me. Tonya ...

Read more...

I've noticed a frightening trend in the latest research on patients taking prescribed opioids: whatever the negative outcomes, researchers attribute them to the opioid medications instead of the underlying pain. The many detrimental outcomes these studies find are exactly what you'd expect from a person suffering long-term chronic pain. They don't recognize or calculate into their studies that opioids were prescribed to ease intractable pain. It's like stating ...

Read more...

Last month I saw Joan, a woman who has had low back pain for years. She’d been through the ringer like every other person in severe pain: countless procedures and medications. She continued to have daily pain that stopped her from staying focused at work, playing with her kids or being the spouse or friend she wanted to be.  After our long consultation and review of her records my prescription ...

Read more...

Last week I took the naloxone challenge. I walked up to a pharmacy window, waited in line, and requested naloxone from the pharmacist. She showed a supportive but knowing look, and I became acutely aware of the four people in line behind me. After giving her my name and date of birth, she was able to pull my insurance info from prior visits, and I left with a dose of ...

Read more...

I was standing behind my trolley in our local supermarket when, in my wallet, I came across that drawing of a human heart. In the miniature pen-and-ink composition, the heart is suspended between two birds’ wings. At the bottom is a dateline: Opioid Vigil, October 19, 2012. Memory is a slippery thing, but I recall the 20-something artist as tall and rangy. At that opioid vigil, he sat behind the exhibit table, ...

Read more...

I often hear the mantra, “You must stay ahead of your pain, or else.” The president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, states a common mistake people make, is waiting too long to take pain medication. By the time you’re in pain, you’re starting from behind the eight ball. "It takes a lot more medicine to control pain after it’s started as opposed to starting it ahead of time," he ...

Read more...

21 Pages

Most Popular

Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.