The Doctor isIN Pain?! why we should treat
Rami Rustum, Lawrence General Hospital Pain Management
We must all die. But that I
can save him from days of torture, that is what I feel is
my great ever-new privilege. Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than
even death itself.
With these two simple sentences, Albert Schweitzer, the
great humanitarian and physician, elegantly described the
nature of pain, the obligation and the privilege of the
physician to relieve it.
Today as then, proper management of pain remains one of
the most important and most pressing issues of society in
general and of the scientific community and health
professional in particular.
Although pain is the first known problem that mankind
suffered from since the early years of humanity, it didnt
get recognized as a medical specialty untill few years
Pain management is a whole new field of medicine. While,
of course, doctors have always tried to relieve their
patients pain, in the last ten to fifteen years
pain management has emerged as a specialty all its own.
Just as some doctors specialize in treating cancer or
heart disease or sports injuries, today there are doctors
who specialize in treating pain.
Despite this great step, unfortunately we still have huge
gaps in our knowledge about pain and a countless number
of questions and concerns about many conditions!
Perhaps, it is useful to mention here that many medical
authorities and organizations in the U.S. have already
dedicated the first decade of the current century as the
decade of pain research and understanding.
Why are we interested in treating pain?.
There is no doubt that for any caregiver, suffering is a
big No, No but beside that, pain often
produces various harmful psychosocial effects including
fear, anxiety, interference with work, decreased
self-esteem, loss of employment and income, sleep
disorders and problematic relationships in terms of
marital and family dysfunction.
There is strong evidence that pain can exacerbate already
existing medical problems like increased heart rate and
blood pressure, increased blood sugar, decreased
digestive activity, and reduced blood flow.
In addition to what we discussed above, pain simply is an
expensive and costly problem.
Lets consider chronic back pain as an example to
explain the above statement:
According to a survey by Medical Data International in
* Back pain costs between $50 and $100 billion/ year
* Approximately seven million Americans are disabled by
* Chronic back pain accounts for 100.6 million workdays
lost for men alone.
In summary, pain is not only an old medical problem but
also a socioeconomic dilemma with many ramifications.
If left untreated, it can leave the affected person in
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com The January 2007 Edition
of the Valley Patriot The Valley Patriot is a Monthly
All Contents (C) 2008, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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