Friday, June 5, 2015



The National Pain Report did a story on the June, 2015 TIME magazine’s cover story on pain killers, Time Magazine Releases Cover Story on Pain Killers.
Time Magazine Releases Cover Story on Pain Killers

As reported by National Pain Report, this TIME magazine "article doesn’t speak much to the issue of chronic pain, for which many prescriptions are written, other than to say 100-million people suffer from it and a quarter of them says it is severe enough to limit their quality of life, according to the Institutes of Medicine."

Over the past 5 years, I have been learning to live with moderate to severe, 24/7 chronic pain caused by multiple cervical and lumbar spine diseases, leading to multiple spine surgeries, resulting in spinal nerve damage and a neurological disease called Central Pain Syndrome

During my time of learning to live a new “normal” with the numerous effects chronic pain brings to a person’s life, I have become aware that there is a whole world out there I knew nothing about, one of which appalls me. Part of it is the awareness of how chronic pain sufferers are portrayed in the media, and the other is the overall opinion of the general public, including some health professionals towards chronic pains sufferers. Of late, the media has been doing a lot of covering the abuse of prescribed narcotics leading to the use of heroin. These losses are a tremendously serious concern; there is absolutely no arguing the reality of this horrendous issue, it leaves many grieving in its wake and requires a solution. One that will help all, not harm.

We all need to be aware that among this epidemic of opioid abuse is a pandemic of those suffering with chronic pain that appears to be largely overlooked by the media. To get an idea of the vast amount of people affected by chronic pain in the United States we need to look at the statistics in the report released February, 2015 by the National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain. This is the link,

Among the many subjects covered in this report, it states that there are 100 million chronic pain sufferers in America. Of those, 25 million suffer with moderate to severe chronic pain.  It also states that 2% of those that are prescribed opioids, abuse them. We cannot overlook that at all, that seriously needs to be dealt with.  

There are 98% of chronic pain sufferers that are using their prescribed medications APPROPRIATELY! Medications, which by the way, that are legally prescribed by physicians for diseases that cause chronic pain and are required to enable sufferers to endure living with this horrific disease, giving them a means to attempt to live somewhat of a functional life…a life shredded to pieces by all the losses chronic pain brings!

This life leaves so many grieving so many losses! Much more than you would even know unless you suffer from debilitating chronic pain or have a loved one that does. It is a hard thing to comprehend living in unending, all encompassing, overwhelming, gripping, deep, crushing, burning, shooting pain at magnitudes of your worse tooth ache.  It can be hard enough for those living with this 24/7, moderate to severe chronic pain to even comprehend the enormity of such a reality to be endured for the rest of their life.  A life many choose not to continue with. 

What would you do if you went to a dentist for an abscessed tooth and was told, “I am sorry, there is nothing I can do about it. You will have to learn to live with it. Then be accused of faking it, and seeking drugs? Imagine the disbelief! Imagine having to seek for someone to help you!

Who will be the voices for the 98% of chronic pain sufferers being treated as drug seekers, degraded and demeaned by health care workers, as well as family and friends, because of the 2% that are abusing? Not only is it the healthcare workers, family and friends, there are other people as well that don't even know us sufferers, but just have an "opinion!" All the narcotic users are generalized into one big group of "pill poppers," "druggies," "drug seekers," "using the system," "lazy," "faking," plus a lot more.  It is endless.

 It is so extremely demeaning to have one’s life boiled down to such clich├ęs by people that have no idea whatsoever to live in 24/7 horrific pain! No one has the right to have an opinion on something so intensely personal and heartbreaking happening in someone else’s life! 

You know, I said that wrong! It is not for the 98%, but for 100%!  No matter if we are abusing or not, we ALL deserve, as human beings, to be treated respectfully and appropriately! We do not deserve the verbal abuse, as well as the physical abuse due to being denied help for a medical condition that takes over one’s body and leaves us having to go and ask for help to live our lives! Of which for many, leads to pleading for help and being denied!

As a health care worker going through this process the past 5+ years I was appalled at how I was treated, how I was spoken to, yelled at and demeaned! Having treatments held back when I was reporting episodes where I was curled up in a ball, could barely breathe, shaking and ended up vomiting from the pain! And this is after it was documented by my surgeon that, "this patient will never be without pain!” As well as objective data that shows up on MRI's, and a CT Myelogram. It took me 15 months and having to push for a second referral and go to four different specialists before someone finally said, "Hey, let's see what we can do about this pain!"
TIME Magazine please be fair with your reporting! You are overlooking literally millions (25 millions suffering moderate to severe pain per the NIH report mentioned above)!  With such a large part of our population suffering one would think you would report fully and accurately to cover this pandemic of horror in your reporting. Please be a voice for those of us suffering with chronic pain!

This report stated, "Yet, evidence also indicates that 40% to 70% of persons with chronic pain do not receive proper medical treatment, with concerns for both over-treatment and under-treatment. Together, the prevalence of chronic pain and the increasing use of opioids have created a “silent epidemic” of distress, disability, and danger to a large percentage of Americans. The overriding question is: Are we, as a nation, approaching management of chronic pain in the best possible manner that maximizes effectiveness and minimizes harm?"

Why in this day and age are these numbers so high?

Why does the media fail to notice the statistics of the NIH report? 

Why do we not hear of these 100 million human beings that are suffering? Of those, 25 million living in the anguish of moderate to severe pain! 

What are their stories? 

Why are these people suffering from chronic pain not receiving appropriated care? We hear about those abusing their medications all the time. Why do we not hear about the lack of care, verbal and physical abuse of those seeking treatment?

Why doesn’t the media investigate the chronic pain sufferers within that 98%? Some of which are going from doctor to doctor pleading for help and compassion, only to be treated as drug seekers and abusers, degraded and demeaned, as well as ignored and verbally abused by many health care workers because of prejudices due to the 2% that are abusing their narcotics!

Time Magazine; please be a voice for all 100% of us suffering with chronic pain!


  1. I, as so many, can understand your frustration. I finally after 4 years found a pain specialist I LOVE that is close enough I can drive to my appointments. Well last week I found out he is moving. I have no idea where to turn now, it took me many many months of research to find him. I won't tolerate being treated as if I am an addict. If you want to test my urine that is fine, but if all is ok, then that should be it. I feel people with chronic pain are judged before there has been any incidence to judge them about. I must admit that as a whole I have only had 1 doctor who treated me like that. I can only pray I will find a new one who treats me as what I am, someone in some level of pain every minute of every day and needs help to keep it managed so that I can do more than cry and wish I would die all day long. It is a shame that the few bad ruin it for the majority. But that seems to be the norm in America in most aspects.

    On another note...I read your bio. I feel like I know you already. I too worked in Occupational Therapy for the 10 years before my surgery and I became disabled. I hurt my back 13 years ago but mananged to recover and have flair ups every two years or so, but some injections and PT and I was find again. 4 years ago that changed and there would be no more fine again. I miss work. I worked hard to get my carreer where it was and I am angry I can't return to it. I felt much more so then now that my life no longer had meaning when this happened but I have found that I have been presented with ways to still use my knowledge and to help others even if it can't be hands on. I also refuse to let my licensce go because someday science and medicine will catch up with us and I have to believe I will be able to work again. I look forward to following your blog- Kathleen

    1. Kathleen, I just want to say I am very sorry for your doctor moving! So get that feeling! Kinda leaves ya feeling lost and alone! Been there! I am glad that you were able to research and find him and hopefully you can find a trustworthy, competent physician to replace him with! Would your primary care doctor take over prescribing the medications until you can find another pain specialist?

      I to will no longer tolerate being treated as an addict. It takes many of us a long time to realize we are not addicts and need these meds to help with surviving this excruciating pain that many cannot understand. I am hoping with the work the National Institute of Health is doing that things will change. Sadly, it takes a long time for change to occur though.

      I so understand your 24/7, level of pain, as you know by reading my bio. I am hoping you are seeking help with a support group or someone to not go this alone! And I am very sorry you became disabled! And extremely sorry you lost your career in OT. I so loved my career and will never give up my license or national certification! Just renewed! Could you send me a private email so we can discuss what you are doing within your scope of practice? I sure would love to hear about it more!!

    2. I am an RN, and was medically terminated last month after developing CRPS in my left foot and leg and I can no longer walk. I've worked full time through having Ehlers Danlos hypermobility type, narcolepsy with cateplexy, Interstitial cystitis, and fibromyalgia. My passion was in fighting for others in pain to get the help they so deserved. I was also shocked at the prevalent disregard for anyone in chronic pain. I would love to hear about others with this and their ways of coping.

    3. Mary, very sorry to hear about you losing your job. I so hope some day you will find a way to continue with your passion in fighting for all of us in pain for that "prevalent disregard" is rampant beyond belief! It is very sad indeed!

  2. Well done you are absolutely right those 98% not abusing their Meds should be given a voice. Great blog by the way.

    1. Judith, Thank you so much for your comment! I am glad that you feel that way! I am planning to do a blog to help others learn how to be advocates for all of us 98%! It is so hard for many to be able to do something when we are in so much pain all the time.I think that is why it has taken so long to have a voice. I am seeing many organizations out there that do advocating. I just have not been able to pull it together as of yet to do much myself. But, as said, planning to pull info together after some research to help others to know where to go and what to do.

  3. Well done you are absolutely right those 98% not abusing their Meds should be given a voice. Great blog by the way.


As always, please feel free to leave a comment, ask questions, or give suggestions!