Revisions to pain management guidelines at the VA have many VA patients concerned. I am a Vietnam veteran (1968-70), and I suffer with chronic pain. The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Promise Act, moving through Congress, is intended to control opioid medications at the VA more tightly and opt for alternative pain control modalities. As with most legislation, the Law of Unintended Consequences has already led to denial of essential opioid pain medications to some veterans very much in need.
Many veterans’ quality of life becomes a shadow of what it ought to be without opioid medications. I am a very satisfied VA patient, having received care at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center since 2002. I received opioid medications post-operatively in an amount that met my needs. My doctors actually listened when I explained that the original dose was not helping, and they raised the dose appropriately.
I continue to suffer with chronic pain and concomitant emotional deficits, and I receive spinal injections four times a year for relief. Unfortunately, my spinal pain returns within a month or so. My doctors and I discussed chiropractic and acupuncture, but my pain doctor explained that at the VA, they saw very limited results therefrom. From this point forward, many fear that veterans’ pain will be inadequately treated.
Robert Galt, Wellington