Coping with Severe Pain

By Fran Marmor | April 25th, 2017

A need for pain management, not for judgment

DEAR FRAN, I am hoping that you can help me figure out how to handle my husband and kids. I had back surgery two years ago, and I don’t know if you’ve ever had intense back pain, but it makes childbirth seem like a walk in the park. The doctor gave me oxycodone and muscle relaxers because he understands what I’m going through. He’s known me for years and knows I’m not some loser drug addict. My husband and kids are making me feel ashamed for trying to manage my pain. I’d like to see them cope with what I deal with! My husband says my personality has changed, and my kids say I’m always tired. Let them deal with pain – I bet their personality will change a bit and that they get a little extra tired, too! Everyone is so worried about opiate addiction these days, that someone in pain can’t even manage it without their family organizing some intervention! – Sue

DEAR SUE, I am so glad you wrote! It takes courage to bring up this subject. And I am so sorry that you are dealing with chronic pain. You are right – people who don’t have to cope with severe pain can have a hard time understanding what you deal with every day. You are using prescription medication that can be addictive, so it is smart to be careful. If people who love you, such as your husband and kids, are worried, it is worth taking seriously. Of course, they could be worried for nothing, but since they are seeing things that concern them, it is worth mentioning to your doctor. You absolutely deserve help managing your pain, and I can imagine that you are terrified about changing what seems to be working. The meds you are taking may be exactly what you need, but since opiates can be so dangerous, it is smart to have a conversation with your doctor about what your family is noticing and see whether you are treating your pain in the safest and most effective way. You aren’t doing anything wrong by trying to manage your pain, so you do not deserve to feel ashamed. Also, your family is most likely just loving you and expressing concern, so please try to be appreciative and not defensive. With meds, acupuncture, biofeedback, etc., you should be able to get your pain to a tolerable level. I am truly sorry you have pain, but I’m glad you have people who really care. – Fran

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