Advances made in pain management

Published 1:26 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

By Cynthia Murphy

A little history lesson to start us off: The Decade of Pain Control and Research Challenges and Opportunities. In passing HR 32.44, Congress officially declared the 10 calendar years beginning on January 1, 2001, to be the Decade of Pain Control and Research. President Clinton signed the bill into law in October, 2000. This is only the second named decade in our history, following the Decade of the Brain in the nineties.

0914-pain-managementAs we look ahead to the fourth year of the decade, we have barely begun:

Multi-disciplinary pain management units face program-imperiling budget cuts as health care facilities struggle with declining revenues.

Skyrocketing pharmaceutical costs leave some, especially seniors, without the means to acquire the medicines that can help them manage their pain.

Abuse of medications by a smaller number of individuals has refueled fears about addiction and reawakened stigmas that keep many from even asking about pain management medications.

Under-served minorities continue to do without.

And myths about pain and our potential for managing it prevail in the general population.

Partners for Understanding Pain was created to address these and other critical issues surrounding pain management today. Our hope and our mandate is to raise awareness about the sources of pain and the resources now available to people who suffer. Medical research has come far, but we still have far to go.

To live well in spite of chronic pain problem, you need to be a well-informed consumer.

Learning about your healthcare condition is a good place to start. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) maintains a web site that gives overviews of conditions (as always consult your family physician as the ACPA is for information only).

The ACPA support group meetings are to aid those with these chronic conditions, in better coping and not just look at yourself as a “patient”, but find your way back to becoming a PERSON. In talking to several people around the Andalusia Area the interest in the support group meetings have been favorable, however over the past two years the attendance has been only one to two people. I fully believe that anyone with a chronic pain condition or family member who does not fully understand the condition or illness, or those with cancer related pain, or even veterans with pain. In advertising the support group meetings it maybe the word “PAIN” that is putting you off, or you say nobody can help, but who knows you maybe able to help another person with your pain history or story.

I am currently the ACPA Facilitator for this area, it is a volunteer position and you have to have chronic pain in order to be a facilitator or leader of the group. I have been going to Daphne Comprehensive Pain & Rehabilitation ( for a little over five years and the group of physicians headed by Dr. Yearwood and staff members work hard to make you feel comfortable. The physicians listen to you and take the time to explain any procedures that may have to be done.

In August, Dr, Yearwood along with the St. Jude Representative placed the implanted system. St. Jude Medical offers the smallest neurostimulators (generators) available with the longest projected battery life for your comfort and convenience. Neurostimulation is not a cure for pain, but it is a therapy that may help you reduce your pain to a manageable level and return to a more normal lifestyle. The time for recovery will be six to eight weeks.

This neurostimutator is the latest one developed by St. Jude Medical. is St. Jude’s website. Currently my cervical pain area has been reduced to approximately 80 percent.

Cynthia Murphy, is a retired disability certified dietary manager, and a facilitator for the American Chronic Pain Association.