Pain Medicine – A Topic No One Likes.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s a popular opioid (pain reliever) was marketed and branded as a drug that was superior to all others. However, as the ‘US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health’ expressed its findings on their website about the particular drug as having the same effect as other opiods on the market at that time.

While I would love to provide you the name of the drug, or company that produced and marketed the drug, I wish to not reveal the name of the company. This is partly because the familiarity of the statements that “lead-to-be factual” all are sourced from my own readings on the web. As I carefully pick my information from trusted sources, publishing them may lead to defamation, which in my opinion is a factor or your own opinion.

Anyways, to carry on, this pharmaceutical company went on to multiply sales of their name brand prescription opioid and even went as far as to hold “conferences” around the country with hand selected prescribers across the country. This company had a data-base that would be able to single out by zip-code, city, state, or even on a national level, identifications of the top prescribers of opioid prescriptions in the country. Incentives, resort stays and vacations ‘all work related’ were paid for by the pharma company.

However, the FDA during the time had a severe lack of control over the marketing that pharmaceutical companies could produce. This type of oversight was provided by other parts of our national government (in the United States).

At one point, a statement was made that only 1% of the patients would become addicted to this opioid. However, that statement, while true, has a much deeper truth. The statement about 1% of patients becoming addicted were reportedly related to a study, of a study, of a study. Seem confusing, well you are not the only one. As I read in more to the study they claimed was their source of that information, was conducted on people with minor-sever injuries, yet not related to chronic pain patients nor cancer patients.

While pain medicine can be deceiving, I know first hand that it is needed. However, using it correctly is the key to us understanding how to take care of our bodies, and as I like to call it “Matter over Mind” not “Mind over matter.”

See, while most of us need pain medicine, people like me, who live in chronic pain, have times while I am not in pain. One of my biggest struggles is limiting the amount of pain medicine I take. A close counter-part of mine helped me understand a plan I could use to help me establish times I could use pain medicine, and times I could be “Mindful” and consider the use homeopathic remedies such as: ‘TENS Therapy’, my ‘Dr. King’s Natural Medicine Acute Pain Relief Topical Cream’, or even Ginger Essential Oil for inflammation.

One of the biggest things that this person has taught me is labeling my pain. Now if you have chronic pain or not, we have all heard at one point of your life “label your pain on a scale of 1-10.” When my pain is at a “4” for me on “my scale,” I believe that it is time to take pain medicine. If I can recognize the pain, yet I cannot label it as a 4 or higher, then I turn to my homeopathic solutions.

In the mid-1990’s Andrea Mankoski created this scale:

Mankoski Pain Scale:

0 – Pain Free

1 – Very minor annoyance – occasional minor twinges. No medication needed.

2 – Minor Annoyance – occasional strong twinges. No medication needed.

3 – Annoying enough to be distracting. Mild painkillers take care of it. (Aspirin, Ibuprofen.)

4 – Can be ignored if you are really involved in your work, but still distracting. Mild painkillers remove pain for 3-4 hours.

5 – Can’t be ignored for more than 30 minutes. Mild painkillers ameliorate pain for 3-4 hours.

6 – Can’t be ignored for any length of time, but you can still go to work and participate in social activities. Stronger painkillers (Codeine, narcotics) reduce pain for 3-4 hours.

7 – Makes it difficult to concentrate, interferes with sleep. You can still function with effort. Stronger painkillers are only partially effective.

8 – Physical activity severely limited. You can read and converse with effort. Nausea and dizziness set in as factors of pain.

9 – Unable to speak. Crying out or moaning uncontrollably – near delirium.

10 – Unconscious. Pain makes you pass out

While this scale is a good route to use for those not familiar with a scale, you have to understand deeply about what your pain means to you and how it affects your mood and day-to-day activities. I believe that when pain reaches a 4, I take my prescribed pain medicine. I have recognized that I start becoming “short” with others around me and my mood changes if I choose to ignore the pain at a scale of 4 or more.

Being “Mindful” is a big step of mine that I have had to learn and practice recently. This entails understanding how your behaviors and how you impact the others you interact with. Recently, I have written a blog post on my take on being mindful called none other than… “Mindfulness.” You can find the blog by using the link on the bottom of this post.

During one of my physical therapy sessions an elderly (70’s or older) patient was riding a stationary bicycle with his wife next to him in a chair accompanying her husband. The physical therapist asked the husband (the patient) “What is your pain level today?” The wife promptly interrupted her husband with “Oh! He has been in some pain, 9 to 10 at least, right?” The Physical Therapist recited his question again, hinting to the wife that it was the husband, the patient, he was asking the question to. Additionally, the patient was reminded of a pain scale of 1-10, 10 being Unconscious.

While some of you do (bless your heart) have to live with such greater pain then mine, I hope you can find some humor from the following picture my Physical Therapist shared with me during that session.



Until next time.

A link to the next blog post: Mindfulness


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