chronic pain

Kyle Travers/WFYI

It took several months and a team of half a dozen doctors, nurses and therapists to help Kim Brown taper off the opioid painkillers she’d been on for two years.

Andrew Villegas/WFYI

Across the country, states desperate to prevent opioid addiction are considering medical cannabis as a solution.

Citing the opioid crisis, lawmakers in several states are looking to initiate or expand their medical marijuana programs including KentuckyNew YorkNew Jersey and Indiana. And in Illinois, where opioids have claimed nearly 11,000 lives over the past decade, the legislature is considering a measure that would allow patients with an opioid prescription to get access to marijuana instead.


More Sickle Cell Patients Survive, But Care Is Hard To Find For Adults

Mar 23, 2016
Janoi Burgess studies for his nursing degree in his room at his home near Miami.
Liam Crotty / KHN

When Janoi Burgess was a child, he thought doctor appointments were fun.

“I used to love it because they had a section where you could play games,” said Burgess, who was born with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder. “They were really nice and friendly.”

But when he turned 21, the South Florida resident could no longer go to his pediatric specialist. Instead, he “bounced around” to various adult primary care doctors, none of whom seemed well-versed in the details of his condition. When he had a painful sickle cell crisis two years later, his only choice was to go to a hospital emergency department, where, he says, he waited three hours for pain medication.

“They triage you based on severity, and pain is not something that they consider as severe” as other conditions, he recently recalled. “One doctor even said, ‘Your labs are OK so you’re not in pain.’ It was crazy and insulting at the same time.”

CDC Has Advice For Primary Care Doctors About Opioids

Mar 15, 2016

In response to the opioid epidemic that has swept the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released long-anticipated guidelines on prescribing opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.

They were published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

When Portland resident Doris Keene raised her four children, she walked everywhere and stayed active. But when she turned 59, she says, everything fell apart.

"My leg started bothering me. First it was my knees." She ignored the pain, and thinks now it was her sciatic nerve acting up, all along. "I just tried to deal with it," Keene says.

Study Shows 40 Million Americans Have Severe Pain

Aug 24, 2015
Andreanna Photography via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In one of the largest population studies on pain to date, researchers with the National Institutes of Health estimate that nearly 40 million Americans experience severe pain and more than 25 million have pain every day.

Those with severe pain were more likely to have worse health status, use more health care and suffer from more disability than those with less severe pain.

Pain Patients Say They Can’t Get Medicine After Crackdown On Illegal Rx Drug Trade

Aug 5, 2015
Lesley Young testified that she has driven 100 miles to try to find a pharmacy that would fill painkiller prescriptions for her husband Chris.
Jessica Palombo / KHN

The accident happened 10 years ago when Chris Young was 35. He owned a salvage yard in Maui, Hawaii, and his employee had hoisted a junker on a machine called an excavator when the hydraulics gave out. The car fell on him from above his head, smashing his spine.

“He was crushed accordion-style,” says his wife Lesley.

The accident left Young with a condition known as “partial paraplegia.” He can’t walk and he needs a wheelchair, but he does have some sensation in his legs. Unfortunately for Young, that sensation is often excruciating pain.

 

Shared Medical Appointments

Oct 27, 2013

Sound Medicine February 26, 2012

Feb 26, 2012

This week, dangerous yoga moves; preventing ski injuries; dealing with chronic pain; and century-old brains offer clues to mental illness. Also, repair "gauged" earlobes. And a way to trick yourself into snacking less.