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Chronic pain sufferers push for treatment

Wednesday 2 March 2011

The ObserverFrom Canada's The Sarnia Observer:


Chronic pain sufferers push for treatment

The Observer

Carol Huxley says she tries to keep active, but sometimes she doesn't have the option.

"Before I got really bad I used to walk and walk a lot, 40 to 45 minutes most days of the week," she said. "I cannot do that anymore."

The 71-year-old has fibromyalgia, a syndrome in which people experience muscle and joint pain, debilitating fatigue and joint stiffness.

She was diagnosed in 2004 but believes she's had fibromyalgia for 20 years.

"I know some people that are even older than I am and they can move like greased lightning," she said. "I envy them, I really do."

Huxley has been a regular attendee for the past six months at Chronic Pain Support Group meetings in Sarnia. She's also taken intravenous Lidocaine and trigger point injections of Depo Medrol for six years to ease her pain.

She said it's comforting knowing she's not alone, especially since most people don't believe her when she talks about her pain.

"A lot of us, to look at us, you can't tell," she said. "It's not like somebody who has a broken limb or somebody suffering from cancer and has lost all their hair. But this is something that you suffer from and practically you are the only one who knows."

The group has been campaigning since its formation in 2009 for better treatment in Sarnia.

In May, it secured backing from Lambton County council for funding from the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network and sent a 1,100-signature to Queen's Park.

No funding has materialized, but Dr. Anthony Lena, a Bluewater Health physician, is providing a once-a-week treatment clinic at ambulatory care.

Lena has about 100 patients but only gets to see 20 each Monday, Huxley said, adding there's another 100 waiting.

Injections are intermittent as well, she said. The ideal is every four weeks but she hasn't received a Lidocaine injection for 10.

She's grateful for what he provides, but it's not enough, she said.

"We need more than he's able to give us. We need more time."

Meanwhile Huxley said she uses a treadmill at home so she can catch herself if she falls. Cold and damp weather make the pain worse. The dull ache of fibromyalgia can affect her whole body from the neck down, she said.

Chronic pain touches every aspect of life, said Lorie Chevalier, organizer of the pain group.

"We help each other with things we've learned," she said, "to try and survive each day a little bit easier."

The LHIN is setting aside $500,000 for a regional mobile health care team for chronic pain sufferers in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham- Kent and Windsor-Essex.

The team, comprised of a nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, social worker and physiologist, will be launched April 1. The move addresses a regional review of pain management services that sufferers are getting improper assessments and not enough treatment.

But Chevalier is skeptical.

"It's not going to help the person they're assessing if they've got nowhere to go," she said.


The above originally appeared here.


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