Cicely on Barriers to Pain Relief

Myths about addiction

Fear of medication

Meaning of pain

Fear of medication

There are quite a lot of people who say, "oh, I don't want to have morphine or Dilaudid or whatever because that will mean that I'm dying." It's only what you have after an operation. It could be used sensibly and it does not have a sort of threat within it. I think what we need to see is the difference actually between post-operative pain and the chronic pain. So many doctors and nurses and probably the public are brought up with what one might call teaching hospital pain, which is post operation, post-accident, post-burn or whatever, which is an event, which has a built in pain, of course I have pain, I've had an operation. To give drugs when pain happens and to wait until it's happened again, is perfectly logical. They will become less and they will eventually be withdrawn. Chronic pain is different. It's not just an event, it's a situation which as it were holds the patient within itself. To have to ask for something every time the pain comes back merely emphasizes that you are dependent on the medicine, you are dependent upon the person who gives it to you. You need to have it given regularly and you need to, of course, as in the other case, have it balanced to the patient's need. We've shown over the years that for most people, if you start soon enough and if you add in all the other attitudes and skills that are available, these are very good tools and they will last out.

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