Saturday, September 25, 2010

Running into a dead-end with pain?

All too often, patients (and their doctors) get lulled into a vicious cycle of pain & treatment without end.

It's a common problem that plays out like this:

- Patient hurts.
- Patient goes to see doctor.
- Doctor prescribes treatment. Treatment works temporarily, often with side effects.
- Patient hurts again.
- Patient goes back to see doctor.
- Doctor repeats treatment again... and again.... and again.... and again.

Now while that sounds like it might be a great business plan for the doctor, it's a losing proposition for both the patient and for the advancement of medicine.

Doing the same thing over & over yet expecting a different outcome is the definition of either insanity or abject denial. I've heard of it happening plenty of times with the patient even going to see different surgeons, different specialists, and even practitioners of different modalities and still receiving outcomes that are anything but effective.

This isn't a slam at those doctors, but rather it's a call to start opening our eyes and our minds - both as patients and as physicians. We need to look outside the "usual suspects" when it comes to treating pain, especially chronic pain, but we also need to use a scientific method that is reproducible and logical.

This is our mandate as medical professionals. Let's make sure that we hold ourselves accountable to that and continue to strive to give our patients the BEST care possible, even if it means that we ourselves have to get outside of our comfort zones to learn new treatment methods!