Undertreatment in Pain Management Essay

1264 Words 6 Pages
Shortly after I had learned to drive, my mother called me while I was at the store. She told me in an urgent voice that she was in a lot of pain and had to be taken to the doctor. I immediately left the store and drove my poor mother to the health center where she could be helped. After waiting for what seemed like forever, my mother was finally taken back to see the doctor. As it turned out, my mother had a condition that caused spasms of pain throughout the day. Despite the fact that she had this condition, she was given a minimal amount of Vicodin to get her through the agonizing pain. She suffered through the pain for weeks, and the medicine did little to help the spasms that shook her whole body. I watched her in despair. If it was …show more content…
Opioids are some of the most effective pain medications available, yet doctors are scared of prescribing too much and causing addiction. Most of undertreated pain happens as a result of physicians’ lack of knowledge on the subject of pain and how to treat it. As Maia Szalavitz says: “There are only about 3,000 to 4,000 pain specialists in the entire U.S., which means that primary-care physicians, whose numbers are also dwindling and who are not educated specifically about pain, are left to treat most pain with little specific guidance about effective care.”(Chronic, Undertreated Pain). Due to this lack of education, they start to fear the possibility of overprescribing and causing an addiction in the patient. As a result, many doctors don’t prescribe enough pain medication. This kind of fear comes from the uncertainty of how much medicine is an adequate amount, and how much is too much. Opioids are some of the most effective pain medications available, yet the reluctance of physicians to prescribe them leaves many people in pain. Nancy Roget and Gary Fisher state in their encyclopedia:
In an effort to avoid the onset of addiction to opioids, most physicians will avoid prescribing these medications. However, no evidence exists that opioid users become addicts. They may develop a physical dependence, as to be expected,

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