"Doctors don't want patients to suffer, they want people to get better," says Bill McCarberg, MD, founder of the Chronic Pain Management Program at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. "But they feel stress, they feel time constraints, they have to deal with pre-authorizations, it's not the kind of practice they wanted. They're stressed, and that leads to moving patients along."
Doctors are frustrated by what they can't "fix"
In 25 years of caring for her chronically sick husband, who was injured in an industrial accident, Ann Jacobs, 62, of Laramie, Wyo., has watched physicians struggle with the trial-and-error progress of his treatment. "Doctors are programmed for success stories," she says.
The emotional effects of chronic pain may also make diagnosis more difficult. Maggie Buckley, 46, from Walnut Creek, Calif., learned this the hard way. She suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare genetic tissue disorder that leaves her with chronically painful joints.
It's important to be clear about your pain and explain the way it impacts your life when you're talking to your doctor. Don't be intimidated. Stand your ground, calmly.