I had spent a lot of the past year focusing on what I could not do. But there's a lot I could do.
Treating addictions as a medical issue is commendable, but at the same time they have to allow pain patients to have the medications they need.
Trying to control overdose deaths among addicts by targeting patients who are suffering from legitimate pain is flawed.
We undervalue the systemic factors that influence how many patients receive an opioid prescription, and without an appreciation of those factors this crisis cannot be solved.
Whether mild, severe or chronic, back pain affects almost everyone. According to Statistics Canada, four out of five adults will experience an episode of back pain at some point in their life. However, this does not have to mean that we are destined to live in pain.
Chronic pain can affect our sleep, appetite, mobility, mental health and our ability to live on our own. Unfortunately, it's so common that many patients and physicians consider chronic pain a normal part of aging.
There are many reasons to explain the overuse of opioids, and as future physicians, we are aware that inappropriate prescribing practices are a clear and studied culprit. Yet for many of our patients across the country, there is more to the story.
For many people, this is a time to leave bad habits behind and face the upcoming year with motivation and a new set of commitments. For those of us living with chronic disease however, we cannot escape the burden of our illness or the daily challenges we face.
Empathy, sadness, joy and a sense of family are just some of the immediate feelings I had when I ended my FaceTime conversation with Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons. Dan and I have something in common called ankylosing spondylitis, or AS for short. Instead of getting into a long, drawn-out medical definition, I will describe it like this: our bodies are attacking themselves, and there is no cure. Most of us AS sufferers have to deal with chronic pain 24/7.