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Author Topic: Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?  (Read 2508 times)

Mouton, Karel

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Mouton, Karel  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Doctor,

Do you foresee a procedure in the near future whereby the
chronic regional pain can be controlled or COMPLETELY ELIMINATED?

What effect might age have on this condition in my hands? I.e.
might the pain become less as I grow older?

Regards,

Karel

What do you think?


 

Offline stevewillie

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Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?
« Reply #1 on: 06/09/2008 23:32:40 »
It depends on specifics of the pain. There are neural implants that can block pain from well localised sources with small electrical pulses. In general, however, controlling chronic pain without drugs is still in in its infancy. Drugs are not the answer since they can be addicting and most exhibit "tachyphylaxis"; that is: it takes higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. The real breakthrough will come with nanotechnology and "nanobots"; microscopic robots that can be directed to specific sites to block specific sensory pathways in the nervous system. These would be the pathways that conduct the pain sensations that need to be controlled without impairing other sensory or motor pathways. However, I can't say when this would be available. For now, small electrical pulses from implants seem to be the best solution, at least for some types of low back pain. In the worst cases, sensory nerves can be surgically divided.

Pain due to chronic inflammation usually requires anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)as well as occasionally drugs for pain control. Research here is very active, and rotating through different NSAIDs can help diminish tachyphylaxis, but all such drugs, unfortunately, have unwanted side effects at present.
« Last Edit: 07/09/2008 00:36:03 by stevewillie »
 

Offline OldDragon

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Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?
« Reply #2 on: 07/09/2008 14:04:06 »
As someone who has lived with chronic pain for many years, been on all sorts of strong medication for pain and inflammation and suffered badly from the side effects, please forgive me for butting in here because since being on Andrew Fletcher's Inclined Bed Therapy trial for varicose veins (here in this forum) I have noticed a HUGE improvement and in several conditions that I have! As has my doctor, and he's eaten his words of warning to me that I could expect my oedema to get worse!

Some days feel really strange now, and simply because I just don't have any pain at all in areas that normally would vary from a dull ache caused by arthritis, to the horrendous pain of severe and crippling muscle spasms caused by arachnoiditis in the thoracic region of my spine!

I was previously using aspirin/salicylic acid based anti-inflammatory medications, as those have proved the most effective within my system, but recently I've hardly needed to take any at all, and was advised against doing so unless really essential, due to undergoing chemotherapy at the moment for breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes.

I wish that more doctors would take this simple, inexpensive form of therapy seriously, and more sufferers try it, because, in not doing so, I am beginning to wonder if some in the medical profession are deliberately breaching the Hippocratic Oath in favour of a few perks and back-handers from the drug companies. (Or else are stuck in the dark ages with some of their outdated medical text books, and have a surfeit of arrogance and contempt prior to investigation. * See below for Herbert Spencer quotation.)

May I remind any who might have forgotten, Hippocrates wrote this oath in the 4th century BC...

Quote
Original, translated from Greek.

I swear by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath.

To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art.

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.

Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion.

But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.

I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.

In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.

All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.

If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

 
*

Quote
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer.


« Last Edit: 07/09/2008 15:50:58 by OldDragon »
 

Offline stevewillie

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Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/2008 18:50:55 »
Dear Old Dragon

I'm happy you're getting relief. As this is a science forum, I can only talk about things that have been scientifically evaluated or concepts that have scientific merit. However, there are many things that work for some people and no one knows why they work. I have no doubt these "unapproved" therapies do work for many people. My view is, if it works and it is safe, go for it!

Stevewillie
 

Offline OldDragon

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Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?
« Reply #4 on: 07/09/2008 20:52:46 »
As far as I am concerned, my own doctor certainly approves of this now, official or not, and he is one of those rare and wonderful fellows in the profession for whom I have the greatest respect - a doctor who has the humility to admit when he's wrong or doesn't know how to treat a particular condition, much as he wants to help.

He is also a doctor who LISTENS to his patients, and takes in what they say, unlike a few I have met in recent months. In fact, I am in touch now with the Patients' Association, and after receiving a survey form relating to recent experiences when in hospital. If the NHS or a hospital trust thinks that putting ticks in little boxes will solve their problems, and is a means to give themselves a pat on the back... well, do I have news for them!

I am well fed up now of certain medically qualified people treating patients as some sort of idiots. Indeed, I have not forgotten how, when phoning the ward with concerns over the leaking/blocked drain in my chest that they sent me home with in situ, was simply told by a STAFF NURSE not to worry about it, and to simply stick a plaster over it! Setting aside the fact that I have allergies to adhesive plasters, if she thought a plaster would stop the flow that was saturating T-shirts from the wound to the hem - and so that they could be wrung out, and at the rate of four a day - well, I just wonder how that staff nurse ever qualified!

While some medically qualified people are busy talking and towing the 'official line' in order to justify their failings - and incidentally, telling all a lot more about themselves and their  attitudes than they may realise in the process - people like myself are not benefitting. In fact, quite the opposite!

With respect, to whom do you suggest I should make the severe suggestion to that they remove the cotton wool from their ears, shove it in their mouths and learn to listen to the patients? This   so that an OFFICIAL TRIAL could be instigated? (And do not, for God's sake, say 'The Government' because all they can do is get someone from their customer services department to churn out inane and pathetic replies that give the lie to any pretence they might harbour that they 'care' - that for either the patients or the finances of the NHS!)

What are such arrogant and patronising professionals with the ability to ACT so afraid of, I wonder? Sticking their necks out of the sand or over the parapet for target practice, perhaps?

Well, as a patient, all I can say is WE NEED MORE GUNS!

More of us to try this simple form of therapy, realise its benefits, and start kicking up a fuss! Most of us are taxpayers, and, in case some have not realised it, are the ones paying the salaries of the politicians and medical professionals who are supposed to work FOR US and our benefit! (Or hasn't that got through the layers of impenetrable garbage that some seem to possess in place of intellect, common sense or moral ethics?)

There are only three types of people in the world - those that believe in God, those that don't believe in God, and those who are foundering under the delusion that they ARE God!

To the latter in the medical profession, I severely suggest they get off the cross!
 



« Last Edit: 07/09/2008 21:58:20 by OldDragon »
 

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Will chronic pain ever be controlled or eliminated?
« Reply #4 on: 07/09/2008 20:52:46 »

 

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