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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pain

I already have a very, very good sense I don't want to be part of a practice that has a large role in treating chronic pain and here comes another reason why. Drug seekers and psychosomatic problems are just too difficult to handle or figure out. The patient population I saw working in an ortho surgeon's office was, granted, probably heavily skewed towards those seeking drugs and seeking excuses, through pain complaints, to collect disability.

But it is terrible to see patients come in, and maybe they have some weakness and other symptoms but their chief complaint is pain, and so they have one fusion and then another surgery and then rehab and on and on and they're no better. Or to get calls every week in the office looking for pain med refills before the prescription is up.

"My dog ate them."

"I dropped them all down the sink."

"They were stolen from my car."

For those truly suffering it sometimes seems to me that diagnosing and then treating the underlying cause can be frustrating for both the patient and their physicians. The treatment of pain is a very important role for the physician, one that I think has grown since I've been alive, and so those doctors that do treat a lot of chronic pain deserve a lot of respect. I just can't imagine myself one of them.

H/T to Kevin, MD

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