Myths & Reality about Pain and its Treatment

Compiled and Written by:                                   –

Dr D K Baheti: MD; Pain Crusader;                    Dr Kritika Doshi:  MD, DA, FIPP, ISSP- Pain Fellowship:
Consultant – Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai               Consultant – Jupiter, Bethany Hospitals, Thane   
                                                                                     
 There has been a lot of new research in understanding of pain and its treatment in the last decade. Patients who were told they had to live with pain can now know that pain that was once considered hopeless is now manageable.

  • MYTH: Complaining about pain shows that you are ‘weak’ and not ‘strong’
  • Reality: putting up with chronic pain can impair functioning and quality of life. It can lead to depression, fatigue from loss of sleep, anxiety, inability to work, and impaired relationships.
  • MYTH : I have to live with pain
  • Reality: There are various options for pain relief like over-the-counter and prescription medications, relaxation techniques, exercise, physical therapy, nerve blocks,  acupuncture and massage, etc
  • MYTH : My pain is not visible on X-rays, USG, etc – hence it is imaginary
  • Reality: Pain is often unrelated to investigations. Special scales are used to measure and quantify your pain. One of the scales used is shown here:
  • MYTH : All doctors can treat Pain
  • Reality: Pain itself is a disease affecting the whole body. That is why there are specialists who treat Pain. Please search or ask your family doctor to refer you to a “Pain Management Specialist”
  • MYTH : All pain killers are bad/ affect my kidney and liver
  • Reality: There are different pain killers for different pains. Some drugs called NSAIDs taken for long time or in some patients may damage the kidney. Medicine like Paracetamol (crocin) is  a very safe pain killer drug
  • MYTH : Cancer patients will have a miserable and painful death
  • Reality: There are many options to have good control of cancer pain even in advanced stages. In addition to strong medications like morphine, nerve blocks, implantable devices and patches can be used for good quality of life.
  • MYTH : If I take Morphine, it will cause addiction
  • Reality: Morphine is the most powerful drug for pain relief. When used correctly, Morphine is a safe and useful medicine and cancer patients very rarely get addicted.  It should be under observation of doctor & not self medication.
  • MYTH : Pain killers will reduce all pain
  • Reality: There are different types of pain. Nerve pain is difficult to treat in late stages. Early treatment will give best results and hence meet your doctor early.
  • MYTH : When you have pain, bed rest is needed
  • Reality: Bed rest is not advisable for long periods as it causes muscles to become stiff and weak. Gentle, graded exercises within limits of pain should be continued.