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How People With Chronic Pain Feel About The 'No Painkillers' Approach

Sunday 9 August 2020

 

From HuffPost:

 

Jennifer Brough
Jennifer Brough
(Photo: Supplied)
 

How People With Chronic Pain Feel About The 'No Painkillers' Approach

New draft guidance advises against painkillers for chronic primary pain. Here's what those who live with it have to say.

By Natasha Hinde
August 6, 2020
Part of HuffPost Lifestyle. ©2020 Verizon Media. All rights reserved.

Listen to Huffpost UK Life’s weekly podcast Am I Making You Uncomfortable? about women’s health, bodies and private lives. Available on Spotify, Apple, Audioboom and wherever you listen to your podcasts.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t function without pain medication,” says Jennifer Brough, 30, who lives with fibromyalgia and endometriosis, two conditions that have “radically” altered her life since she was diagnosed.

Brough is concerned about new draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that suggests painkillers – paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and opioids – should not be prescribed to treat chronic primary pain (CPP), citing evidence they can cause harm, including addiction.

“While I am reticent to take painkillers often, when I have incapacitating flare-ups, medication provides the necessary respite I need to function,” she says.

Chronic primary pain refers to chronic pain as a disease in itself, according to NICE. It includes issues such as chronic musculoskeletal pain, as well as chronic pelvic pain and fibromyalgia. In contrast, chronic secondary pain is where the pain is a symptom of an underlying condition.

The draft guidance suggests there’s “little or no evidence” the commonly used drugs for chronic primary pain make any difference to people’s quality of life, pain or psychological distress. But Brough disagrees. “To suggest painkillers aren’t effective solutions for managing pain is an oversimplification of the issue,” says the editor and writer from Croydon.

While the guidelines indicate some concern around the long-term impacts of taking pain medication, such as addiction, Brough believes removing this as a treatment option “will dramatically affect the physical and psychological wellbeing of vast numbers of the population”.

 

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