Do You Need a Second Opinion?

Dr. Nikesh Seth

You probably already know how difficult life has become these days for the chronic pain patient, because as a society, we  tend to lump people into  categories and make our judgments based on what we think the situation is rather than what it actually may be. Thus, in the last few years things have gotten much more difficult for people who come to the doctor for issues involving chronic pain.

We treat patients like individuals

Most of the treatments that involve pharmaceuticals, which used to be considered highly effective and a godsend for helping patients resume their lives, are now under scrutiny for their addictive properties, and that sets us back decades in our ability to help people. Many physicians have taken the position that they will not risk their careers or their licenses to treat someone who has any kind of chronic pain and has seen another doctor in the past for pain medication. All of a sudden every pain patient is a doctor-shopping addict. Like all hasty generalizations, this one is ridiculous.

However, at our practice we still believe in treating patients as individuals and in their right to get a second opinion. After all, if you had cancer or a heart condition or a lame hip you would probably seek a second opinion before picking a treatment protocol.  And if you were being unsuccessfully treated for allergies, you might want to find another doctor who could be of more help.But between the demands of insurance companies and the horrendous publicity surrounding opioids it is difficult for chronic pain patients even to obtain a second opinion.

Not every pain treatment involves drugs

First of all, not every pain treatment involves drugs. That’s why we encourage people who have been dissatisfied with their current solutions, either because they  depend on pharmaceuticals too much or because their other doctors will not prescribe medications that work well enough to allow them to function as members of society to come to our practice. We’ve got many relatively uncommon minimally invasive solutions and are happy to give a second opinion. If we find that the person is actually a good candidate for a treatment that we offer in our office, we want to help. We don’t turn to pharmaceuticals immediately, but we’re not afraid of them either.

As a pain management practice, our goal is to return people to being productive members of society. Of course we would like to make them pain free, but that is not always possible, especially in cases like cancer pain. We hate to see a difficult diagnosis like cancer compounded in its difficulty by a doctor who is afraid to prescribe a drug whose effectiveness is well-known to a person who really needs it.

Thus, in complex cases like those, a better solution is close medication management.

We care

Part of the reason we’re producing this content  is because we know we are thought leaders in this space and not just blind followers of the latest publicity. I didn’t become double board-certified to make treatment difficult for pain patients. I did it to help deal with pain, long considered the fifth vital sign and now endangered as such by the very profession best equipped to relieve it.

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