Many noted authors have written about how the advancement of the medical business model has directly fostered the epidemic of chronic pain we now see spreading around the developed world like a plague. I agree that the modern epidemic of pain is certainly fostered by changes in how doctors do business and how patients are “managed” within the greater healthcare system. However, I tend to go a bit further in my criticism, since I have already made a career out of being an outspoken patient advocate and really do not care if I step on any toes in the process. After all, if something is worth saying, then it should not be sugarcoated, diluted or understated. Instead, they truth should be known in all it terrible detail, regardless of how the medical establishment might take exception. This essay will surely be in short-form, since I have already written literal books about chronic pain, as well as thousands of online articles. This dialog will serve as a brief synopsis of why we now find ourselves at the mercy of a greedy and guarded medical system that refuses to cure, but will happily manage symptoms of virtually every major health crisis.
Chronic pain is a truly modern medical problem. If one thoroughly researches the medical literature, one sees very little reference to chronic pain before the 1950s and virtually all of the early references come from America. It seems that the horrors of WW2 are often blamed for this occurrence, but in reality, these tragic events merely provided a large of pool of prospective patients for a new mindset of doctor.
Traditional doctors have always been concerned with healing their patients. Many of their ideas and methods were unsound, but the goal was always to cure, often at any expense. This philosophy endured for thousands of years and remains the ideology embraced by all doctors today; at least in theory. However, in practical application, the modern industrial era following WW2 changed the way that doctors viewed health and illness. Patients became ever-more commoditized and pain became the vehicle that brought in money. Illness was unpredictable and messy. Things could get out of control and diseases might spread through populations. Therefore, doctors continued to go about trying to cure communicable disease, but focused on “managing” chronic pain instead of curing it. This was far more profitable and easily fell within the ever-growing legal limitations on professional medical practice.
The movement began slowly, as particular doctors developed methods of patient retention that would provide a steady stream of income with little actual work involved. Diagnosis was messy, time consuming, unpredictable and unprofitable, but treatment was always easy and lucrative. Since dealing with pain meant prescribing drugs in various forms, the therapies could not have been easier for the doctors. Trying to cure produced casualties, but doing as little as possible seemed to work just great. Patients were drugged into stupors and survived for long enough to become cash cows. The idea of managing pain spread from doctor to doctor and into the corporate world.
Companies that manufactured a few drugs now took up arms to make as many as possible. These corporations thought it to be their mission to “educate” doctors as to the benefits of recommending their products. Of course, this education came in the form of money, cars, vacations and other perks, making the lessons impossible to resist for most doctors. The medical education system and the civil legal system made matters much worse by tightly regulating what doctors should and should not do in the course of their practice. Lawyers fought for drug companies to make rogue doctors (i.e. those attempting to cure) face punishment for bucking the system. In fact, the legal limitations of proper medical practice curtailed advancements in clinical medicine more than any other factor of the modern age. Meanwhile, medical school became more of a business program for doctors than a collective knowledge bank dedicated to healing. Doctors are instructed how to remain “safe” in the eyes of the law and how to make as much money as possible, while simultaneously doing as little “doctoring” as possible.
This philosophy grew for several decades, during which some of the largest companies in the world were formed or expanded. All of these companies manufacture drugs on a massive scale. During the 1970s, 80s and 90s, there was nowhere safe to turn for objective help when it came to healthcare. The drug companies owned virtually everything and everyone, making more money than could be accurately ascertained. The average person became acclimated to the constant bombardment of medical marketing and legal marketing that worked hand-in-hand to foster the acceptance that we are a weak and easily-injured species that requires constant pharmaceutical intervention just to survive. Generations of people were literally brainwashed by the idea that chronic pain was a normal response to any stress in life; despite this being a complete fabrication and evolutionary heresy.
The new millennium started to turn the tide in some ways, but the established negative patterns still continue to this day. With the advent of the internet, more and more people have seen the lies that have been told to them collectively by the same doctors instilled with their trust. Now, at least there is hope. People are slowly realizing that pain is not an inherent part of life and when it does exist, does not need to be managed with deadly chemical poisons. There are other choices. This is where I come into the picture. I provide options. Want to learn more? I hope so. Read more about constructive pain management and please contact me if I can help you to live better.