Good thing to come out of Covid
Thanks to some rather high-profile people catching Covid, which gave them pain in their joints, I found pain reiief for my joint pain has improved remarkably in the past two years. It’s surprising what can happen when the prime Minister gets ill -and more than likely Joint Pain figured in his side effects.
Before, the UK was particularly bad at treating pain. I remember being horrified when my mother was in severe pain and Chelsea and Westminster A & E tried to give her an X-ray (for fractured hip, etc) before treating her pain. She was told she would be given something for pain “after your X-ray”.
I winced – knowing it would increase her pain as she was moved off her trolley and onto the hard X-ray bed, then back again. But giving her pain relief before the procedure meant a doctor had to be called, and the department was stretched. We had words, and a doctor shot in to the cubicle, pain-relief at the ready.
They tried the same trick when I landed up in the same A & E. I knew what to ask for by this time, so the staff gave in without a murmur.
So if you suffer from chronic pain, it’s worthwhile asking what has changed in the past two years, and see if any of the latest developments might help you.
Other countries treat pain differently
A top Trauma Surgeon once explained to me that it doesn’t help recovery to be ‘British’ and put up with pain. The sooner pain is relieved, the sooner the body stops fighting the pain and gets into recovery mode.
This Australian video makes some interesting points:
So why do I think Covid ‘helpful’?
When people like Boris Johnson fell dangerously ill, it concentrated NHS minds. They were throwing different drugs at the problem, many of them familiar to cancer patients. But because the patients were rather important, they started taking note of their complaints e.g. about joint pain. For years cancer survivors had pointed out this side effect of drugs, but not much notice was taken. When covid patients produced the same complaints, they sat up and did take note.
Recently, I ended up in A & E (as one does), at 3 am. The department was miraculously empty, and the Spanish doctor on duty and I had an interesting chat. I remember saying how I had gone around Europe being treated in different hospitals for cancer because I had found my NHS treatment hadn’t been good enough.
A month later I received an NHS appointment letter out of the blue, to see a doctor whom I had never met, Before I phoned to say they had made a mistake, I Googled this doctor and found he had been trained in the top hospital of Barcelona, and had worked in Australian and American hospitals. I decided it would be interesting to meet him, and perhaps one day I could take advantage of his expertise.
He introduced himself “I expect you are wondering why I asked to see you?” Turned out he had met up with the doctor from A & E, who mentioned me and said I had chronic pain (aftermath of polio and cancer). This doctor was a pain specialist and his colleague thought he could help me.
Boy – has he made a difference to my life.
Now, every six months I spend half a day in hospital, having trigger point injections in my back. Since then, I have discovered there is what I call the ‘Spanish Doctor mafia’ in the Thames Valley, and I am now also looked after by two others of this band, Lovely chaps! One of them has even fought for me to have a special drug for my Osteoporosis, saying I should have it and “I’ll see you get it”.
What to do
If you have chronic pain, Google around and see if there is a Pain Clinic at your local hospital. Or if not see if the website mentions a Long-Covid clinic. Then look up the Consultants / Staff, and see if any of them have experience with your particular condition, and ask for a referral to that Consultant. Don’t mention Long-Covid (unless you had it).
Googling around, I discovered this wonderful pain specialist was also involved with a long-covid clinic, and they offered help with loss of smell and taste (two side effects also from cancer drugs). Asking my GP for a referral, I had a 15-min. lecture from her about how covid wasn’t cancer. So I phoned the Consultant’s Secretary, told her my problem and she booked me in to see her boss.
Pain is pain, and is treated the same however it is caused.
It is surprising what has developed in the past two years, and how the painful side effects from drugs are taken much more seriously, so hope this helps you.