In Part One and Part Two, we read about the history of medicine, the human instinct to relieve pain, and the holistic approach. So, what could the future hold?
In the days and years ahead, we will see information sharing between pain care providers and patients as a welcome opportunity. We will be partners in investigating new concepts and applications of therapeutic modalities. Our provider will be the leader, the steering wheel, and the patient will be the vehicle. Both will work together to keep the chassis from falling apart and the engine running smoothly.
The future offers hope. Treatment options that fit within our own moral framework will be available. When all other options have been exhausted, neither provider nor patient will be judged for their choice for minimizing pain. We know that one in seven to ten people will exhibit addiction/abuse behaviors, one of those could be us, but our providers will be acutely aware of how to identify risk and resources will be available and affordable to all. Long-term studies on the effectiveness of opioids, medical marijuana, and other centrally acting agents, such as antidepressants, and anti-seizure medicines will be available. Providers and patients will be informed and improved patient function will be the yardstick by which we measure all things.
"Spirituality is a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life."~The National Cancer Institute
Care plans will include assessment and education for healthy coping strategies, assessment of our support systems, and our providers will undergo education for meeting our spiritual needs—theirs and ours. (See Part Two.) Integrative medicine, which includes both traditional and herapies such as active release therapy, acupuncture and ultrasound guided trigger point injection and will be available across the United States. Physicians will learn how body kinetics and the myofascia play an important role in chronic pain. And, just like water in a gas tank causes engine malfunction, providers and patients will understand the effect of nutrition on our general health, so we can expect referrals to nutritionists when needed. Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, QiGong, warm water therapy, classes for meditation, biofeedback, and movement therapies (such as Tai Chi and Yoga) will be front and center. We will be seen as human beings and will be respected for input in our care. Last, but certainly not least, all helpful therapies will be covered by our insurance providers and will be available to everyone, not just the affluent.
Our perceptions will shift from a “healthcare system” to what the Center for Practical Bioethics calls “a learning healthcare system.” Modern informatics will allow access to our data with the goal of improving outcome, and benefit/risk analysis will be individualized. As discussed in Part One, we will “look up” and we will no longer fall into the abyss of usual thinking. All those present in the modern medicine model will admit we don’t have all the answers and will exhibit a willingness to open their mind to new possibilities. We will be fearless.
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear
and no concept of the odds against them.
They make the impossible happen.”
~Dr. Robert Jarvik
(Inventor of the first permanent total artificial heart.)
In this partnership, we will open our minds and hearts to new possibilities. Our healthcare provider will lead the movement for patient centered care by embracing the power of communication, trust, compassion, and touch. We will work together in learning how the mind affects the body and we will join hands as facilitators to share the news on this phenomenon. We will all play a pivotal role in the way pain is perceived, judged, and treated as set forth in the Institute of Medicine report, “Relieving Pain in America.” What we do today to change our perceptions will affect the future of pain care for the 100 million Americans who suffer daily.
This is not the end; it is only the beginning.
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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."
Celeste Cooper, RN
All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.