Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Reprinted from A NATION IN PAIN: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem by Judy Foreman with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © Judy Foreman 2014.

Reprinted from A NATION IN PAIN: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem by Judy Foreman with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © Judy Foreman 2014.

Ratings: (0)|Views: 12,045|Likes:
Published by wamu885
Reprinted from A NATION IN PAIN: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem by Judy Foreman with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © Judy Foreman 2014.
Reprinted from A NATION IN PAIN: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem by Judy Foreman with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © Judy Foreman 2014.

More info:

Published by: wamu885 on Feb 06, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/15/2014

pdf

text

original

 
 CHAPTER 1
The Enormity of the Problem
OVERVIEW
I never knew such pain exised. Several years ago, my neck suddenly  wen bonkers󲀔a long-lurking arhriic problem probably exacerbaed  by oo many hours spen hunching over a new lapop. On a subjecive scale o 0 o 10 (here is no simple objecive es or pain), even he slighes wrong move󲀔urning my head oo as or picking up a pen rom he 󿬂oor󲀔would send my pain zooming rom a 0 o a gasping 10. Siting in a resauran was agony i he able was oo high, which orced my arms and shoulders up. So was siting in he movies, look-ing up o see he screen. Shifing rom siting or kneeling on he bed o lying down was excruciaing󲀔here is simply no way o do i wih a bad neck. Even silly litle hings like bending orward o ry and pain my oenails became impossible. During hese episodes, which happened many imes a day or monhs, I couldn’ alk hrough he pain, hough mere words couldn’ have capured he pain’s inensiy anyway. So new, shocking, and incom-prehensible was all his ha I el uterly alone, convinced ha no one had ever el like his beore. Bu, o course, I was no alone. America, as I soon discovered, was hen󲀔and is sill󲀔in he mids o a chronic pain epidemic.  A 󿬁rs, I ried o cope by mysel, wih handuls o ibuproen, los o sreching, and exra compuer breaks. I kep on working as a naion-ally syndicaed healh columnis based a he
 Boston Globe
 and I kep hosing my weekly radio alk show. I also kep going o he gym and
 
[2]
 A Nation in Pain
swimming hree imes a week. I kep singing and perorming wih my classical music group, oo. And, o course, I kep hanging ou wih riends and amily. Bes o all, I coninued o enjoy a new romance. Bu as he monhs icked by, he pain only go worse, so I sough help rom he medical sysem, a sysem I hough I knew well, having covered i or decades. In ac, as he
Globe
 ’s “Healh Sense” columnis, I probably had he bes address book in own, 󿬁lled wih he names o hundreds o eminen docors. A unny hing happens, hough, when  you become a powerless paien, no an on-op-o-hings journalis. Te medical sysem I encounered as a person wih pain was shockingly differen rom he one I hough I knew. And i was almos compleely unprepared o help. My 󿬁rs docor, a young, emale physiaris (rehabiliaion specialis)  who came highly recommended, was iniially nice. Bu over he course o our visis and escalaing medicaions and injecions, she seemed o grow angry when I didn’ ge beter. A one poin, she old me, raher coldly, ha we had 10 minues, during which we could eiher alk or I could ge “rigger poin” injecions. Ten, during wha would end up being our las visi, she seemed o imply ha my pain was caused  by some emoional problem. I waned o scream, “You be I’m emo-ional󲀔I’m in agony!” Evenually, a magneic resonance imaging scan (MRI) would show several almos-herniaed disks in my cervical spine, as well as vere- brae sliding over each oher (a condiion called spondylolishesis) and  bone spurs sabbing my nerves. My ace joins (small joins ha help sabilize he spine) showed arhriic damage. (I was acually lucky. Many people wih back and neck pain have normal MRIs, while oher people  wih no pain have disasrous-looking scans, a puzzle docors can’ 󿬁gure ou. A leas mine showed somehing.) More echnically, wha appeared o be happening was ha my in󿬂amed, irriaed cervical nerves were 󿬁ring almos nonsop, caus-ing he rapezius muscle in my lef shoulder and neck o spasm. Te spasming in urn caused my head o wis bizarrely oward my shoulder (a condiion called cervical dysonia), where i would say “rozen” or long periods, orcing me o use boh hands o urn my head back o a more or less normal posiion. Te resuling pain was woold: a searing,  burning nerve pain ha ran in a sraigh line rom my neck o he op
 
THE ENORMITY OF THE PROBLEM
 [3]
o my lef shoulder, as i acid were dripping righ ono he nerve, and severe muscle spasms.  Afer eigh monhs o no progress󲀔despie emporarily giving up  work, swimming, he radio show, and singing󲀔I 󿬁nally began o ge  beter when I saw a eam o docors a he New England Bapis Hospial in Boson. Tey
believed
 me. Tey gave me ime, corisone shos, and  very rigorous physical herapy called “boo camp.I was graeul, o course, bu sobered. Despie my amiliariy wih he medical sysem, i ook eigh docors, muliple physical herapiss, an acupuncuris, several massage herapiss, an ergonomic consulan (who go me o buy all new offi ce urniure), and more drugs, including opioids, han I had ever imagined I’d need beore I began o ge beter. I’s wonderul ha I 󿬁nally go he help I needed. Some people never do. Tis shouldn’ happen in a counry as medically sophisicaed as ours.  And ye i does. * * *One hundred million American aduls live in chronic pain, according o a 2011 repor rom he presigious Insiue o Medicine, an arm o he Naional Academy o Sciences.
1
 In 2010, ha was more han 40 percen o he US adul populaion, 235 million.
2
 Ta is a saggering 󿬁gure, o be sure, and i’s based on one massive sudy.
3
 Bu i 󿬁s wih oher esimaes.  A 2012 Gallup elephone survey o more han 353,000 American aduls ound ha 47 percen were suffering rom some ype o chronic pain, a 󿬁gure ha ranslaes o 111 million people.
4
 Oher esimaes pu he prevalence a abou one-hird o aduls.
5  , 6
 A 2008 elephone survey o nearly 4,000 randomly seleced Americans ound ha on any given day, 27 o 29 percen said hey had been in pain during hree randomly seleced 15-minue periods ha day.
7
 A 2006 elephone survey o 46,394 Europeans in 15 counries showed ha 19 percen had suffered pain or six monhs or longer, wih pain in he moderae o severe range.
8
 o be sure, no everyone suffers chronic pain as badly as I did. Bu many have i much longer, and much worse. In ac, some people in chronic pain󲀔a enh o a hird, depending on he esimae󲀔hur so  badly hey can’ uncion.
9
  ,
10
  ,
11
  ,
12
 
Usually de󿬁ned as pain lasing hree o six monhs or more, chronic pain is vasly differen rom shor-erm, acue pain. I can ransorm lie.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->