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This is a long story :). My elderly mother has chronic pain caused by severe arthritis and refractory restless leg syndrome. Her pain is intense and she will jerk for hours trying to get comfortable. Until recently, she was prescribed opioids that helped control this and was the most effective treatment she has ever had. She has a long history of this for over thirty years and has been to every specialist or had every test you can imagine. Due to recent law changes and public outcry over the opioid epidemic her doctors have severely decreased her pain meds. She is living in utter hell right now and is losing the will to live because of this pain. I have communicated this to the doctors to no end and they continue with the decreases. She has been to the pain clinic, neurology, orthopedics, sleep studies, rheumatology, etc. How do I help her? Should I file a lawsuit or complaint against the clinic? She can barely walk she is in so much pain and has never abused her medication. I fall asleep listening to her crying, wake up to her crying and hear her crying throughout the day. Please help.

I would try a geriatric specialist who might be more understanding of her pain given her age. She should not have to suffer like this. I hope that you are able to get her the pin relief that she needs.
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Reply to UsedupDIL
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Opiate issue is just like the gun issue, it's not the thing ( gun, opiates, _______ fill in the blank) it's the law breakers. I have lived on pain meds for the past 20 + years due to 3 failed back surgeries. At the beginning of this year, my meds were cut by 30% over a 2 month period. I have never had a negative(bad) urine test (every month for the past 5 years, every quarter for about 5 years before that and random the first 10) I have never ran out of my meds and called the Dr begging for more, I've never lost or had my meds stolen.

I am not one of the "problem" patients. But because of them I am being punished. No laws or rules are going to stop the criminals. But the laws will damage many good productive people. I have been the primary caretaker for my wife for the past 13 years until her 4th stroke Nov 2017 when I had to send her to a SNF, I still visit her every day. I've missed 6 days since last Nov. I would not be able to do this with the help of my pain meds, even reduced as low as the pain specialist dares go.
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robinr Oct 5, 2018
What a situation they have created.  keeping you in thought;-)
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Maybe you could get her on hospice for palliative care? They would keep her comfortable-provide a comfort pack of meds (usually morphine for pain). Hospice isn’t just for those who are nearing the end of life.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Besides the previous suggestion which I think is a good one is there not one of the many doctors you can explain to how dire the situation is. Can you promise to manage the amount she takes? I don't see the point of doing this to an elderly person in the final stages of life. I would hope one of them could be sympathetic if it's explained to them clearly although I also agree with finding one who solely deals with the elderly. May I ask what state you are in?
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I work with a lady who has arthritis and chronic back and neck pain as well as some anxiety and depression. She wants to get off the pain meds and has started using Hemp oil aka CBD oil. She has had almost immediate relief and cut back tremendously on the pain meds. The brand is Charlottes Web (or Webb) and you will need to do a little research on dosing. The pain clinic was all for it. Please look into it. This Hemp oil has zero or trace amounts of THC so it will not cause a “high”.
If my Mom was still with us I would use it for her pain from Lung Ca., dementia and anxiety for sure.
best of luck to you and prayers for your Mom
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AT1234 Oct 5, 2018
I started to suggest this too. As long as it’s “hemp” I think it’s legal check first. A friend in my moms prev AL was using it made a huge diff in her pain. Google it, I found one CBDistillery.com but haven’t bought any. My moms pain meds have just been completely stopped I wonder if this is part of the reason why?
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I hate to hear people are suffering like this. Pain can be absolutely debilitating .
Has anyone mentioned working with a Holistic Doctor? Things like acupuncture. Also Mindfulness therapy, learning how to Breathe through the pain. This one sounds a bit strange but it's similar to childbirth breathing.

Some other thoughts
Can she go to a pain clinic to get daily injections
If she was in assisted living she would most likely get the pain meds she needs.
Will medicare send someone to the home and give her shots
Elder Abuse Law - Look into this because I think it would fall under it. Start with Department of Social Services. They will lead you to the correct attorney.
If the clinic is refusing to give the pain meds, change Clinics, Doctors etc.
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Reply to leslie3
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paulalovescats Oct 5, 2018
Acupuncture is useless woo, but the placebo effect works sometimes.
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I've offered to do everything to the doctors, I've sent so many messages to them, gone to appts, asked questions, I brought research done by their hospital to the appts that say opioids are the treatment for her conditions. They have laser focus on taking everyone off their meds or to a very small dose. A geriatric specialist is a good idea, though, I haven't thought of that.
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rovana Oct 7, 2018
Most doctors are scared to tangle with the DEA - they have their licenses to safeguard. And the DEA has to criminalize everything they can to save their jobs. We ought to abolish them, but totalitarian states love DEA types.
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If she can't get the continued prescriptions, I'd explore what is available to her. I might consult with a psychiatrist to address her depression. There are daily meds for depression that also treat pain, like Cymbalta. That med helped my LO who was disabled due to arthritis, when she got dementia. I might also explore other meds for arthritis. Another cousin, on the other side of my family suffers with severe arthritis too. She takes weekly injections. I'm not sure of the details. She says the injections help a lot. They are not for pain, but, actually treating the condition. They are quite expensive, but, for some, covered by insurance.

I have yet another family member who has a very serious spine condition in which the pain is constant and indescribable. She has metal rods in her back and needs another surgery. Doctors are weaning her off the pain meds. She is very scared and opposed to this, but, they haven't given her much choice.

Last week I saw a story about the doctors who were sent to prison for many years for over prescribing pain meds. So, I think that would get my attention, if I was a doctor.

My primary doctor's office has a sign that says that do NOT prescribe any narcotic pain pills.

I hope you can find some help. For a senior in pain.....I wish there was help. I'd seek a Hospice consult.
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Violet28 Oct 7, 2018
Thank you. The depression is caused by the pain. Some of the other arthritis meds or procedures are so dangerous that I don't want her taking them. I know the opioids are considered dangerous but they seem the lesser of two evils in a lot of cases. A hospice consult is a good idea.
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This so makes me want to cry.  Along with everyone who thinks they know better there are so so many people dying in pain whose lives are made a bigger hell because of the insanity.  If your mom is elder as you say, firstly I might contact hospice.  I don't know where you are, but it sounds like you're in a place with many resources.  You definitely need to get her a new MD, preferably someone in pain management.  Make phone calls to see what the situation before you bother making appointments, and of course who can see her first, but you want it to be a good person.  Have you ever had any luck just going to ER?  This brings to mind a couple things:  one time my dad suffered terribly and did not sleep for at least 2 months while awaiting an appointment with the busy pain man. dept here in Cleveland.  FINALLY the anticipated day of relief came.  Only because of their f'd up system, this afternoon appointment was ONLY for a consult.  The MD walked out of the room and dad proclaimed he could  understand why people killed themselves.  MD came back in, and being the good daughter/advocate I let him know what dad had said, to convey the depth of his agony.  What IS medicine if not to relieve pain and suffering???  Well, MD steps out of room again briefly, comes back in, and then tells me that he has to ask Dad questions related to suicide risk based on the comment I relayed.  Not to say the MD was not compassionate, just that the PM timing resulted in inadequate staffing to safely do the procedure which was schedule for 2 days later first thing in the AM.  And then there is someone I know who was taking a minimal opioid dose, and she had her life back and could be functional (also an elder).  Suddenly, without warning, her MD's office shut down.  There was a recent article in the paper about him, and how all of his patients were struggling, some who still had not connected with a new MD.  Turns out the law was involved because the MD had an addiction problem.  And, lastly, we have my sister who developed shingles and is pretty much on her own.  So there you have someone suffering and in pain who is having to go the professional's office to get the script and go in person to get only a specified amount of pills for a short period of time and having to repeat the process again...when you feel like hell and should be in bed resting.  "They" have created such fear and paranoia that it wouldn't surprise me that you are being perceived as the one looking for the meds to support your own (nonexistent of course) addiction.  It is insanity.  I love your idea of a lawsuit, but big clinics have big lawyer teams and you probably don't stand a chance of nothing but losing your own funds.  But maybe if you're willing some publicity from the local TV channel or newspaper.  I'm sure you sadly are not alone.  I can imagine what you're going through, although my dad suffered in silence and was not crying.  I still recall the time a nurse asked him what his pain level was, and what was acceptable.  He said 0 was acceptable.  It brings a smile, reflects my dad's attitude, but truly, why shouldn't we be allowed to think that is acceptable.  He is very active at 100+ and has better things to do!  Wishing you all the best.  PS Maybe an elder law attorney might be intrigued to take such a case on or give you some guidance.  Let us know how it goes...
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Please also look into using CBD oil to help ease the pain (marijuana). It can be provided in gel pill form or also oil which can be administered topically or by mouth. I've had several friends with severe arthritis, who had been carefully using opiods to control the pain - no abuse or over use. When they started using CBD oil, they found their pain was better controlled and the cut back on opiods from their doctors didn't cause a problem with pain control. If this is an available option in your state, I would give ti a try. Just insure there is no, or barely a trace of THC - it's the THC that causes a marijuana "high". Best of luck.
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