In two of the blogs I follow the topic pain was mentioned recently. I am a pain patient myself, because my lower back acts like it is older than the rest of the body and developed arthrosis.
Pain is very difficult to judge from the outside. This is why doctors usually ask their patients to grade their pain on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (unbearable pain). How much you suffer from pain also depends on your general mood – in a good mood, you can cope better.
Acute pain e.g. from an injury, has to be treated differently than chronic pain. In my opinion, doctors who know how to treat chronic pain, and all the problems that come along with it, are very rare here in Germany. Treating my back pain was like patchwork for years – six sessions of physical therapy and thoughts about surgery from my orthopedist here, tilidine tablets from my primary care physician there, but nothing consistent. Somehow I found out that there are doctors who specialise in pain management, and my orthopedist gave me a phone number. When I called, I was told that this hospital doesn’t offer pain management on an outpatient basis any longer. But they told me of two hospitals that still do. So I contacted the one clinic nearest to me (about 28 km). Before I got an appointment with one of the doctors, I had to fill in a pain questionnaire and add medical records. The receptionist called me a few days later to schedule an appointment, which of course was two months later.
I felt at ease there from the beginning. The staff is friendly, and the patients are not just given pills, they are offered talk therapy with a specialised psychologist also. My soul, alredy burdened with depression, anxiety and Borderline was also seen, not just my aching back. We tried to find a solution until I, the patient, said, “This is it!” At the beginning of the therapy and during changing meds, I went there every few weeks. When everything is alright, I have an appointment every three months. Prescriptions for long-term medication are sent via mail, and they really try to squeeze you in when it is an emergency. One of the two doctors is availible every day until midday. Sadly, as my treating physician confirmed, there are less of these pain management centres. A big part of pain therapy is talking to the patients, and the health insurance does not pay for that.
I am very grateful I found this kind of assistence. I now spend less energy on dealing with my pain, this makes life so much easier. During my last inpatient stay on the psychiatric ward, pain medication was of subject of discussion, but a change didn’t feel right at this time. But it will be adressed on my next appointment, which will be at the end of the month.