Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Please rate your pain on a scale from one to ten, one being the least and ten being the most severe pain. This scale is about the only way doctors can gauge the level of pain a patient is experiencing and the doctor needs to take the patient’s word on it. Unfortunately, anyone can exaggerate their level of pain in order to get particular drugs like oxycodone and no one can tell the patient that they are not experiencing the pain they claim to be. Clearly, the pain management field has some serious issues and is partly to blame for the serious epidemic this country is witnessing as a result of prescription drug abuse.
Joel Saper, Director of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, told the Wall Street Journal, “We don’t have a pain-o-meter.” Saper believes that between 15 to 20 percent of patients looking for pain relief, either don’t have pain or have less pain than they claim.
An estimated 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, with lower back pain being the most common type of pain, in 28 percent of the population. Knee pain is second, affecting 20 percent, according to a new report by the Institute of Medicine called Relieving Pain in America.
There needs to be some way that doctors can more adequately gauge a person’s pain so that they are not prescribed drugs needlessly, which promotes the chance that the drug will be used improperly or sold. This country has let pain management spin out of control, too many prescriptions and too many options to choose from; people are being prescribed drugs that are much more powerful than the pain they may or may not be experiencing.