Medical Necessity or Addiction?

By Lisa Davis Budzinski, Guest Columnist

All of the issues surrounding the CDC’s opioid guidelines and opioid pain medication being compared to heroin are quite stressful to those of us who are disabled and seeking quality of life on a daily basis.

Does everyone understand that there are “healthy” people that take prescribed medications just to deal with life?

That there are young adults who experiment with prescription meds that were not prescribed to them by a doctor?

That there are people who buy on the street the same prescription drugs that we use?

And that there are people who get injured but heal and no longer need pain prescriptions?

We all see the abuse and misuse of pain medications, but what about those of us who will not or cannot ever heal again? It’s one thing to break a limb and know you are going to heal up in 6-8 weeks. But what about those of us who are not ever going to heal? 

I had a stroke that damaged my central nervous system, leaving me with Central Pain Syndrome, a neurological condition that causes constant pain. There is no cure and few treatments help. I do not have a diagnosis of being better a few months down the road. And I’ve had to come to the realization that I will have pain every day of my life.

I can have some quality of life and get the pain scale down to a 6-7 by taking Tramadol daily. Using Robaxin keeps my muscles from stiffening up or being spastic every hour of every day. I also take Zoloft because it has been clinically proven to help ease chronic pain and to work in conjunction with my bio-identical hormones.  

What about my husband, who suffered a horrible accident 35 years ago that damaged his right lower leg beyond repair? What about his daily pain levels from his shin bone that stays broken from bone infections?  Why shouldn’t he have quality of life on a daily basis? His leg will never heal and it will never stop causing him pain.

We aren’t taking prescription medications that makes us sit and drool, or knock us out without knowing what’s going on around us. We take medications so we can be alert and live daily life the best that we can while we are here.

No one can imagine a life of chronic pain that will never go away until they live it themselves. We are not talking about pain that comes from getting a scuffed knee or elbow. We aren’t talking about pain that comes and goes like indigestion. We aren’t talking about the pain of creaky joints that comes from getting older, although we have that as well.

Why must those of us who struggle to live a quality life be ridiculed and ruled by government agencies that do not even deal with these issues? Shouldn’t that be decided by our medical doctors who have put in years learning their profession? Who took an oath not to harm us but to help us?

It’s not logical to compare a prescribed pain medicine to heroin or any other illegal drug you can buy on the street.  

We are living a life of “medical necessity” and not one of addiction. We are law abiding citizens that just want quality of life.

Lisa Davis Budzinski is a cancer and stroke survivor who suffers from Central Pain Syndrome.

Lisa is a delegate to the Power of Pain Foundation, Vice President of the Central Pain Syndrome Foundation, and author of "At The End of The Day."

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.