Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tramadol and barriers to pain management

For once, we can start with the selfish position. When you are the patient, the healthcare issues should be all about you. As the patient, you are entitled to be the centre of attention. Except, of course, you should never allow this to go to your head. Physicians are entitled to a measure of respect. They do, after all, have the expertise to help you recover. So let's go on with the idea that all treatment should be a partnership between you and the physician. They have the skills and there's no need for you to continue suffering needlessly.

As a statement of the obvious, most people end up seeing their regular physician because they are in pain or they have symptoms as warning signs of pain to come. Fear is a great motivator even though, in these difficult economic times, it can be expensive to get advice and treatment. So the first potential problem is in yourself. When do you decide to make an appointment? Some people delay. This is understandable for economic reasons. When you do not have current health insurance or access to Medicaid, waiting until it's an emergency has become a standard response. But when you are covered by a health plan, delay is less justifiable. Even though you may think it good to accept the pain, perhaps it's a macho thing, the longer the delay, the more ill you may have become and so the more intensive the treatment you may require. Catching a problem early is always best. Suffering in silence simply makes you a victim of yourself. This also applies to people who believe they should not take any painkillers because of the risk of side effects. If you have fears, talk to your physician and ask for reassurance.

Even when you have taken the first step, you can be unlucky and run into a professional who's not sympathetic to those in pain. Unless you address this problem, you can get second-best treatment. This requires you to be polite but firm. You have to work with doctors who are prepared to take pain seriously. If you have doubts this particular doctor is interested in pain management, negotiate to see another doctor - this may require you to get a reference from a primary care physician to someone better qualified. You must work within the terms of your health insurance. Ideally, you are looking for someone prepared to draw up a pain management plan. To prepare yourself, you should do some reading to identify the treatment options. As a first step, you will benefit if you keep a pain diary. Record when and how much it hurts. It's too easy to gloss over details that may actually show a pattern to assist diagnosis and the selection of the best treatment.

In all this, remember drugs like Ultram or its generic tramadol have years of track record showing them both effective and safe. There's no sense in denying yourself access to this drug in the short-term. Even if the pain management plan actually works through physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy so you no longer need to rely on painkillers all the time, Tramadol is the ideal fallback should pain flare up.

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