Pain management is somewhat obsolete these days. Receiving treatment from primary care doctors or even specialists is a daunting task.
I am not the kind of person to ask for pain medications unless I am absolutely in dire need. If you are following this blog, you are aware of my chronic illness issues along with how they have escalated over the last few weeks. I have tried heat, stretching, muscle relaxers, prednisone, over the counter medications all in attempts to alleviate the pain.
During my last two rheumatologist appointments, I have asked for tramadol to be refilled, my rheumatologist declined to do so. He stated that I needed to see a pain management specialist.
Pain management doctors often have long waiting lists. They require you to jump through hoops. You must have a referral, even though my insurance doesn’t require one. They want ALL medical records from ALL doctors. Then it takes months to get an appointment. I am in pain now. I don’t have months to wait.
I contacted my primary care doctor via my patient portal this morning after spending several hours searching for pain management doctors. I requested that my medical records be faxed to the two different doctors, I was also told to come in and see her discuss my pain and she would be able to help me in the meantime. Her schedule was from 8 am to 3 pm. We arrived before 2 pm. I specifically asked for my regular primary care physician. After waiting in a room until after 3 pm, I was told she was gone for the day and I had the option to see another doctor or come back. I was very upset. I also found out during this time; the medical records were not faxed as requested. This only added to my frustration, which added to my pain.
The doctor on duty came in and I explained again what was already in my chart and what he already knew, he flat out refused to help me. He stated to me that he had a family to feed and he was not going to lose his job by providing me with pain pills. Furthermore, he went on to say that if I wanted pain pills, I should go to the emergency room. I was livid. I have been a patient at this facility for over 5 years now, they have my records, they see that out of 5 years, I have been on pain medications, maybe a total of 4 times. This was rude and out of line. It is his job, as a medical provider to help me, correct?
I understand federal and state laws are prohibiting doctors from overprescribing opioids and they are monitoring prescriptions; however, how do you blatantly refuse to treat a patient and turn them away and not help them? How do you tell them to go to the emergency room? The times I have gone to the emergency room for actual emergencies, I was always told to follow up immediately with my primary care doctor’s office. The emergency room is not going to see my pain as an emergency. This is completely assinine.
I did notify my rheumatologist of today’s events and he simply advised he would call in a Medrol pack. A Medrol pack is basically a steroid/ prednisone.
Drug addiction and federal guidelines are making it nearly impossible for individuals that are in pain to receive proper treatment. Studies have shown that chronic pain increases blood pressure, stress, heart rate, also it reduces the body's ability to fight off illness and diseases. Depression also proves at higher rates with chronic pain patients.
Statistics also show that patients with chronic pain are more susceptible to commit suicide.
Throughout my research, I did not find any information stating that a doctor could not prescribe pain medication to me, to help with my pain. In fact, I read several articles stating that the doctor is supposed to work with me and discuss the risks and even begin with a small dosage.
I may be incorrect in my research and findings; however, medical professionals have a duty to treat patients, not turn them away. How I was treated today and lately by my so-called “medical professionals”, I deem as completely unacceptable.
I do guarantee that my insurance will be billed at full price. I guarantee I am going to contact my insurance company and the administrative offices to let them know about the treatment I received. I hope that this type of treatment ceases. Chronic pain patients are not drug or pill seekers, I am not. I was simply trying to manage the pain to get through a few days until the pain management doctor could see me.
What a sad world and medical care system this is for the chronically ill.
The following links provide information regarding pain management medication prescriptions:
“Chronic pain affects more than 10% of the population, almost half of whom report “considerable” pain. These researchers retrospectively analyzed death registries in 18 U.S. states to determine the prevalence and characteristics of chronic pain in suicide deaths between 2003 and 2014.
Chronic pain was present in 9% of 123,000 people who died by suicide. The rate rose over time from 7% to 10%, while suicide rates from opioid overdose remained the same (2%). The most common medical conditions were back pain, cancer, and arthritis. Numerically, suicide decedents with pain were older, more likely to be female than those without pain and to have depression (82%; 75% in decedents without pain) or anxiety (19% and 10%), and less likely to have intimate partner problems (17% and 32%). Firearms were the most common suicide method in over 50% of both groups. However, a greater percentage of chronic pain decedents died of opioid overdose (16% and 4%). Of 200 decedents with suicide notes that were reviewed, over half indicated that pain played a role in their decisions to die.”
Thank you for reading and understanding my frustration with the medical system. I promise to write upbeat and inspiring or quirky articles/ blogs the next go-round!
If you are having the same problems, I would love to hear from you.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment!