The Traps of Treating Pain

Doctors admit that there are sometimes few good options for treating chronic pain:thistle-819x1024

Doctors hate pain. Let me count the ways. We hate it because we are (mostly) kindhearted and hate to see people suffer. We hate it because it is invisible, cannot be measured or monitored, and varies wildly and unpredictably from person to person. We hate it because it can drag us closer to the perilous zones of illegal practice than any other complaint.

And we hate it most of all because unless we specifically seek out training in how to manage pain, we get virtually none at all, and wind up flying over all kinds of scary territory absolutely solo, without a map or a net.

Is it any wonder that a plethora of alternative practices have sprung up for pain management, as well as a thriving industry in semi-legal pharmaceuticals? The author goes on to discuss the difficulties of managing pain in the standard way–escalating from non-narcotic to narcotic, prescribing as much as is needed to eliminate the pain, without “becoming the patient’s parole officer.”

This is an impossible line to walk. Missing in most of these discussions is the question: What’s causing the pain?

Because pain is ‘wild and unpredictable.’ It is highly individual; although it operates in patterns, it is unique to the person. We are beginning to suspect that it has as much do with the history of trauma, mental and emotional as well as physical, as it does with a specific injury or configuration (such as a ‘bad back.)

What’s your pain about?