Andrea Cooper, 52, of Phoenix, Md., who suffers from fibromyalgia and spinal degeneration, has felt the stigma of narcotic use. "The last pain specialist I had, I just hated it. There were signs up all over the office about rules and limitations. All about being suspicious of the patients. Not the way medicine ought to be practiced. I found it insulting."
Adds Jan, 45, a chronic pain sufferer in Boulder, Colo.: "I think doctors have to be able to distinguish between the people who can handle it and those who can'tand help the people who can."
If you're having difficulties with your doctor
If a physician, for whatever reason, is uncomfortable writing prescriptions for opioidswhether it's a new prescription or a refillpatients can ask for a referral to a pain specialist. Pain specialists can also be located through online directories below.
- The American Board of Pain Medicine lists doctors who are board-certified pain specialists.
- The American Academy of Pain Medicine lists medical doctors who regularly work with pain, and may or may not be board-certified pain specialists.
- The American Academy of Pain Management lists health-care providers who regularly treat pain, though they may not be board-certified pain specialists or medical doctors.