Rock Paper Scissors

Sometimes, treating pain can be like playing a game of Rock Paper Scissors.  A single injury may have many components that cause pain.  There can be the pain from swelling, which would require an anti-inflamitory agent.  Then there is the pain from the initial insult such as a tissue tear, which may respond to opioids or a damaged nerve that may require a completely different approach to treatment.  Add to that, pain is subjective.  It’s an personal experience.  No body can ever feel your pain as you do.  Also, you can never feel some one elses pain.  You can try to read their body language, to gauge their level of pain.  But everybody responds to pain differently.  If there is a visible  injury causing the pain, you can look at it and say that must hurt.  But you will never know exactly how much pain they are experiencing.

The medical community tries to classify pain, in an attempt to better understand pain.  However, current classification methods are numerous.  Some are vague and they don’t follow a logical pattern.  I suppose the lack of consistency would indicate a confusion about pain and its treatment in the medical community itself.  To complicate things even more, different people respond to pain medication in different ways.  Some may have allergic reactions to some medications.  Others may have an insensitivity to certain pain medications.  People with ADHD and Ehlers Danlos typically have an insensitivity to Lidocaine.  People with low levels of natural dopamine may be more sensitive to pain itself.  Some pain disorders such as Fibromyalgia show no specific cause of pain.  This leads to the assumption that the complaint of pain is not real and “in someone’s head”.

Another even more disturbing finding, is that women are significantly under treated for pain.  Recent studies have discovered that women experience pain differently than men and respond to pain medications differently as well. 

Diane E. Hoffmann and Anita J. Tarzian wrote “The Girl Who Cried Pain:  A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain”,  for The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.  It is an in-depth survey of recent findings in the study of pain and pain treatment as it pertains to the different ways men and women are treated for pain and why.

Chelsea of the blog Hypermobility Hope wrote a must read post titled “Gender and Pain”.  In this post she breaks the topic down into plain English.  She explains why women experience pain differently than men.  She also explains why women aren’t taken seriously by the medical community when they complain of pain.  Chelsea’s bio states, “I had many doctors tell me that I was crazy, and that I would just have to live with the pain,”  From her personal experience she has outlined specific steps that anyone can take, in order to receive adequate pain treatment.

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