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Washington Post Pain-Opioid Video

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BruceMC, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/risk-addiction-or-live-with-chronic-pain-users-of-opioid-painkillers-walk-a-fine-line/2016/12/09/45f7311e-bda0-11e6-ae79-bec72d34f8c9_video.html (Users of opioid painkillers often grapple with risking addiction or living with pain - The Washington Post)

    The first thing I notice about all the individuals in the documentary is just how physically "out-of-shape" they are for their age. You'll notice too that the guy who had back surgery for his herniated disk got addicted to opioids after his surgery. One has to ask whether the surgery really did him any good at all? I notice too that he's addicted to nicotine. I think the maxim holds true: You'll find people who smoke cigarettes who aren't junkies, but you'll never find a junkie who isn't addicted to cigarettes.

    I'm sure that the amateur psychologists out there will also notice certain personality traits in all these individuals that mark them as having chronic pain. But this video doesn't go into enough biographical detail to reach firm conclusions.

    Of course, one conclusion this videos ignores is solving the problem by breaking the pain-addiction cycle itself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    One thing I do notice about those women in the videos personalities is that they're very, very nice and long-suffering. It makes me remember what Dr Sarno says about "goodist" personality traits in patients with TMS. But it also reminds me of what Dr Gabor Mate says about patients with autoimmune disorders: They all have emotionally repressive coping styles. I truly feel for that one elderly lady who says she drags herself through work everyday only to completely zone out on strong narcotics when she gets back home at night. A hell of a way to live, no doubt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Washington Post continues their series of articles on opioid addiction:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-great-opioid-epidemic/2016/12/11/77bd8998-be4d-11e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ac75521e6f70 (The great opioid epidemic)

    Sounds like more and more people are experiencing what in many cases is psychologically induced pain symptoms. Dr. Sarno's concept of a great pain epidemic in our society seems to be having more and more fatal consequences.
     
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  4. MrRage

    MrRage Peer Supporter

    It is heartbreaking to know that many if not most of these patients who are dependent on opiates to cope with their chronic pain could have instead learnt about the mind-body syndrome and used knowledge and therapy to overcome their pain problems.
     
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  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seems to me the pain epidemic in America that leads to addiction to opiates (because it is so wide-spread) has psycho-historical origins in the typically American emphasis on success and being a winner and not just faulty medical assumptions and practices as Dr Sarno would have it. A lot of people become inwardly enraged when the can't measure up to impossibly high standards of achievement. You can see that in that elderly woman who likes to take care of her "duckies" but struggles through her job each day only to blitz out at night on pain pills. The whole problem is probably exasperated by the steady decline in the overall standard of living for many people in this country since the early 1980s. Some people just weren't cut out to be the over-achieving self-made millionaire we're all supposed to be in the popular imagination. That's why healing from TMS involves coming to terms with who you really are even if it's imperfect and flawed.

    You're right MrRage I was struck by how sad that first video was.
     
  6. MrRage

    MrRage Peer Supporter

    Your last post accurately describes my own background and the cause of most of my TMS. "Coming to terms with being imperfect and flawed" is a good way of describing what I've been going through since discovering Sarno's work. It is really difficult and can be extremely depressing and painful.
     
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  7. TG957

    TG957 Well known member

    Last week, I attended a government conference for my state. One of the sessions was a panel on the opiod epidemics. Even though it is not my professional area, I was compelled to attend.

    The panel consisted of two MDs, one is a public health officer for a large county, another is a regional director for a large health insurance company. There was also a policy analyst from the state. The insurance MD and the policy analyst simply could not get past the subject of how they are policing prescription shopping through the state-managed database that has data on opiod prescriptions for the residents of the state and how there is not enough rehabs for those addicted to painkillers. The public health officer was more realistic in her worldview. She talked about how just about any person from any social layer in society can become addicted and how easily the pills are popped by adults and kids alike. But the other two panelists kept just steering back to their database.

    I finally raised my hand and talked about my own experiences, how I had to fight my PCP for physical therapy and referral to the pain management clinic to see a pain psychologist (that was before I knew about Sarno) and how insistent my PCP was on offering me painkillers, of which some were opiods, instead. I talked about ease with which I was sent to expensive diagnostic body scans and difficulty getting anybody to talk to me about me as a person, not about just my symptoms. Of course, I did not tell them about Sarno - it would have been time wasted, but I told them that I refused painkillers, injections and surgery and that I am slowly getting better regardless, despite my very bleak diagnosis. I made a clear point that painkiller addiction is not a medical problem, it is is a social problem and has to be addressed as such. As I was talking, the database police duo appeared uninterested.

    After the show was over, I came to talk to the public health officer. She thanked me for being brave and speaking out. We then discussed how meditation, yoga, qi gong and martial arts are needed in elementary schools to help kids manage life stresses and the effects of those on overall mental health and resilience of the population. She gets it, but she seems to be a lone voice.

    I am nevertheless hopeful that we are on the brink of a change. The pain and painkiller addiction epidemics are pervasive and will become such a major threat that society would have to deal with it as a social problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just don't think it's any coincidence, TG957, that the chronic pain epidemic that Dr Sarno believes exists began during the 1980s when the American standard of living began to go down or more specifically how much more difficult it became about then to achieve the so-called American Dream. The figures themselves are hard to deny: According to Paul Kennedy in his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987) in 1950 the USA contained 70% of the world's manufacturing base, by 1983 that figure has gone down to 17-18%. Not that the USA doesn't have a huge industrial base relative to the rest of the world; however, it's become harder and harder to achieve a standard of living that is beyond most people's abilities. Hence, a pervasive depression among those who feel left out and can't "make it" the way they have been led to believe they should be able to. No accident at all that back pain became a more common symptom about then. However, dosing every Tom, Dick and Matilda who has an ache or a pain with addictive prescription pain medications is not going to address the fundamental problem of the tremendous gap in our society between expectations and the way it really is. Sounds like the best way is to tell people not to beat themselves up because of economic and social conditions that are beyond their control. Taking pain meds, it seems to me, evades coming to grips with who you are and your situation. A self-destructive behavior to say the least. The pain clinic industry certainly doesn't help matters at all by piling on the prescriptions for a problem that is largely psycho-social in origin. As Dr Sarno pointed out, the problem does begin with a faulty diagnosis.

    Interesting that Forest teaches economics. I bet he's noticed what I'm talking about from his academic pulpit!
     
  9. TG957

    TG957 Well known member

    Bruce, this is a very good point, but I think the problem is not with how hard it is to achieve the American Dream, but with how the American Dream is defined. GDP as a measurement of the societal success is misleading at the least. There are other indexes that could be used instead. For example, happiness index. US is not that bad, it is #13 overall, but by measure of happiness spread within the society (to me, indicator of social stability) we are barely in the middle. Or social mobility index, where we lag behind Japan (!). Tribal cultures lag far behind in life expectancy and wealth, but may be much healthier emotionally. Our American Dream has become a rat race, exhausting and debilitating, for acquiring more and more stuff. The social pressures to succeed in this race is what causes chronic pain epidemics.
     
  10. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, this is what I notice today: the great increase in the number of TMS patients who are younger and younger, experiencing more and more pressure to achieve during the period of their lives when we imagine they ought to be the most carefree. When I was in my twenties I took it for granted that it was my birthright to have "fun". Of course, I was an obsessive over-achiever too back then, but there was always the understanding that there was also plenty of "fun" to go around after periods of "suffering". Seems like for many young people today there's nothing to look forward to except more stress and suffering. A generational pressure cooker. But when I was young, there had been an unbroken period of affluence and prosperity from 1945 to 1973. Today, if you aren't absolutely perfect (or even if you are) prosperity and affluence are not givens. Lack of psychic space and social isolation, it seems to me, are what leads to TMS.
     
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  11. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Bruce. I am so grateful that I have not taken any opiod medication. Years ago I took some valium but weaned myself off of it and have stayed away from opiods. Doctors prescribe it because they don't know about TMS or don't believe in it. But what they prescribe can be as bad or worse than the malady for which it was prescribed.
     
  12. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Perhaps, Walt, prescribing opioid pain killers is just a way for doctors to keep difficult patients off their back? If they're sedated, perhaps they'll stop complaining about a condition the docs can't cure with the structural modalities in their tool kit?
     
  13. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    There is doubtless an opioid crisis, but at the same time it's naïve to think there isn't a lot of serious intractable pain out there that has nothing to do with TMS and isn't curable by mind body methods, and that doctors who prescribe opioids are uniformly ignorant.
     
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  14. ezer

    ezer Well known member

    I was bedridden in agony for several months. Only opioids helped me go through that period. Meditation, progressive relaxation, and PT were of no help whatsoever during that ordeal.
     
  15. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    To be sure, pspa. There are broken bones and Mr C to cite two very obvious examples, and relieving pain is one of a doctor's jobs. However, just prescribing opioids to get chronic pain patients out of the office doesn't really cure TMS and fibromyalgia. I think Dr Sarno says that during the initial acute phase of back pain it's okay to administer opioids since there's really nothing else that seems to work at that point.
     
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  16. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    Obviously medicine needs to rethink the question who should get opioids, and for how long. There's a nation of addicts out there, not to mention people who have died from them, and I am guessing many of those were originally prescribed them inappropriately for minor and relatively benign conditions. At the same time, it's a very complex question not given to simplistic pronouncements.
     
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  17. pspa

    pspa Well known member

  18. TG957

    TG957 Well known member

  19. TG957

    TG957 Well known member

    Ezer, I am not questioning your one-time need for the painkillers. I am simply telling my story, which clearly shows how a patient who was searching for a non-medicated path to healing while in severe pain, was denied such path by the doctor. I have a written response from Kaiser telling me that although physical therapy is one of the options, it is up to the doctor to decide what works better (!), like the doctor is the one who experiences pain. I also got the most cynical response from my physician (who is obviously, no longer my physician) that I have to be in pain for 6 months before she could refer me to the pain management clinic. After I switched to another doctor, I was given a referral on my first appointment without any hesitation from the doctor. Of all the services I received from Kaiser at the time, the PT and pain psychologists were the only helpful. As for the painkillers, I was able to relieve a severe neuropathic pain with a homeopathic ointment readily available OTC. Granted, it worked only for a short period of time so I had to reapply it every 30-40 minutes, but nevertheless it saved me from opiods which I feared greatly. Again, it is a choice that should be given to us.
     
  20. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Opiates were never intended for long-term use. They were created for crisis pain following an injury or surgery. I think Drs are negligent to keep their patients on opiates past the time of surgery or injury. As the one woman spoke, every time her pain breaks through her doctor increases the dosage. My heart breaks for these people. When I first saw the visual of the two women I thought they were in their late 70's, early 80's. I was so shocked to see that one was 62, the other 64. So, if they live to 90, that's another 25 years of daily opiates? What????
     
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