Reported September 2001
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to a recent survey, 53 percent of chronic pain patients are unhappy with the care they receive. So what can you do to make sure your pain gets treated? Here are some suggestions.
For more than half of all pain patients, relief is something they only dream about.
Neil Borgstrom says, "I just want to be able to function." A back injury 20 years ago left Borgstrom in constant, debilitating pain.
He says, "It not only makes my life miserable. It's made many people around me miserable too."
Desperate for help, he saw nearly 30 doctors. Most ended with little success. Clinical nurse specialist Mary Zaccagnini, R.N., of United Hospital in St. Paul, says there are a number of roadblocks to relief. One is the fear of addiction.
"The most frustrating thing is to explain to the patient and their family what addiction really means and how this is really not going to take them down the path of addiction," says Zaccagnini.
She says there may also be emotional and psychological factors involved.
"You may get the acute pain somewhat under control but then don't understand why the patient still seems to be troubled," says Zaccagnini.
Finally, communicating the type of pain is vital.
Zaccagnini says, "Stabbing, shooting, burning, aching, those are different descriptors we might see."
What does this mean for you? It is your responsibility to ask about details of your medication — risks and side effects. Provide the doctor with specifics about your condition and make sure he understands your unique pain.
Zaccagnini says, "The goal is to pick the best combination for that specific patient."
With a combination of medicines, Borgstrom has finally found relief he can live with. He says, "It's giving me relief where I can function."
New guidelines recently went into effect to make sure patients are educated as to their treatment options and that they are getting the best care possible.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Eileen P. Murray
Copyright © 2001 Ivanhoe Broadcast
Davies & Murray
Healthcare Communications Specialists
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