Patients living with chronic pain are experiencing new barriers to accessing the right treatment.
State lawmakers are responding to the opioid epidemic with new restrictions on doctors that prescribe them. The well-intended legislation has made it harder for patients with real pain to find a doctor.
Earlier this month, we featured the story of Anne, a patient living with chronic pain who has struggled to access the right treatment. “What followed was hell on Earth,” Anne says of her experience. “I could barely manage alone at home. I had no quality of life at all.”
After reading Anne’s story, more patients have raised their voice and shared their stories of facing similar barriers to access. Here are their stories:
Patient Debra Vota from Eastampton, New Jersey: I am terrified of the future
Five years ago, I became disabled from Crohn’s Disease.
I was told by every doctor I visited that my vertebrae looked like dust and my spinal compression fractures would never heal. I went from being a Kindergarten teacher with a full, happy life to someone who suffers from constant pain in my back and nerve pain in my arms and legs.
I take opioids to get through the day. They don’t stop the pain entirely. Now my pain management doctor has begun lowering my opioids. My pain is greater, and I am terrified of the future. My doctor wants me to try medical marijuana, which I cannot afford because I am on Social Security Disability. I am not a candidate for surgery or physical therapy. I tried to switch pain doctors but every doctor I called refused to take me.
Why do legitimate patients with chronic pain have to suffer? I am a patient, not an addict.
Patient Jeff G: I am in the same boat
I am in the same boat , herniated discs, scoliosis, surgery in my future, etc. etc. Medication allows me to function normally without pain and to forego the life-changing surgery indefinitely. I’d hate to be forced under the knife.
Patient Deb from Michigan: Why go after me?
My first hip surgery was at age 17.
I’m 58 now and have had my right hip replaced or revised 4 times. My right knee 2 surgeries then a replacement. Arthritis is throughout my entire body. I was still able to work for 20 years as a nurse. Half of that in Hospice. I became disabled 7 years ago. I found a good pain management doc and was doing great until the CDC came out with the guidelines.
My doc has been harassed about my dosage, and I live month-to-month fearing I will lose my meds. I still own a home, pay taxes, and am part of my community.
I will lose everything if I lose my meds. Why go after me?