April 13, 2020

The Debilitating Disease of Chronic Pain and the Case for Mandated Integration of Evidence-Based Alternatives into Individualized Treatment Plans

By Stephanie L. Flackman, J.D. Candidate 2020, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ

We think of pain as a symptom. But in . . . patients [with chronic pain], the pain is the disease.

—Clifford J. Woolf, director of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and neurology professor at Harvard Medical School1  

Introduction

Shortly before receiving yet another lidocaine needle in the back of his neck, Staff Sergeant Josh Kisner, an Army veteran who suffers from severe headaches and chronic neck pain, confessed:

I don’t know why it is starting up again.  It had calmed down to a tolerable level.  It’s the stupidest things like reaching into the closet to grab a shirt.  For a while, I just lived on Percocets. It was the only way to do it.  That’s why I hate that drug and if they give it to me after surgery, I am going to beg for something else.2  

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