April 14, 2024

One Can Happen

The Healthy Lovers

How Medical Science Can Actually Contribute to Chronic Pain

Millions of people around the world live every single day with chronic pain. For some, the pain has a known cause. It could be arthritis, spinal stenosis, or any other number of conditions. But for others, pain is described as nonspecific – which is to say that doctors don’t know what’s causing it. In so many of these nonspecific cases, medical science can actually contribute to the pain.

Contributing to the pain isn’t what medicine is supposed to do. In fact, it is quite the opposite. People see their GPs in hopes of finding some measure of relief. But visit after visit, not much changes. Whether their doctors realize it or not, they are contributing to the pain by either ignoring it, attributing it to something completely unrelated, or even telling patients they just have to live with it.

A Celebrity Case in Point

Medical science is by no means perfect. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. And sometimes, celebrities are the ones who do the reminding. Such is the case for well-known conservationist and TV personality Bindi Irwin who recently revealed a years-long struggle with endometriosis.

Irwin struggled for 10 years with the pain, fatigue, and nausea endometriosis is known for. She went undiagnosed during that entire time. Apparently, none of the tests or scans doctors performed pointed them to the correct diagnosis. Irwin got to the point where she just figured she would have to learn to fight through.

It is not clear how she ultimately got the correct diagnosis but once it came she was scheduled for surgery. Doctors removed 37 lesions, some of which proved rather difficult to remove because of their depth. Nonetheless, Irwin is now on the road to recovery.

We Need a Different Approach

Irwin isn’t alone in her experience. In another case cited by Yahoo! News’ coverage of the Irwin story, a Scottish woman was also ignored by her doctors for years. When endometriosis was finally diagnosed, her surgery also resulted in the removal of lesions. One of them weighed 28 pounds! How did doctors miss this for so long? They just assumed the woman’s weight gain was natural.

Endometriosis is obviously not the only condition that goes dismissed or undiagnosed by doctors. Pain is a complicated symptom that isn’t always easy to pinpoint. So on the one hand, doctors cannot be expected to get it right all the time. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that we need a different approach to how we treat pain.

Lone Star Pain Medicine is a Weatherford, TX pain clinic (https://lonestarpain.com/) committed to a different approach. They are among a small but growing number of pain clinics that look beyond the basics to get to the root causes of a patient’s pain.  They go beyond the prescription pad and standard surgical procedures to help patients find relief.

Nonspecific Doesn’t Mean Fictional

The traditional approach to pain in Western medicine looks for the easy way out. It classifies the pain from a broken bone as specific because its root cause is easily identified. But when a doctor doesn’t know what is causing pain, they call it nonspecific. For the record, ‘nonspecific’ is not a genuine medical term. It is a coding term used for insurance purposes.

What must be understood about nonspecific pain is that it’s not fictional. Just because a doctor cannot identify its cause does not mean the pain isn’t real. But far too often, a patient’s pain experience is ignored because a GP cannot figure out its cause. That’s not right. Patients deserve better from a modern healthcare system.