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CULTURAL ASPECTS OF PAIN: DOCTOR-CAUSED (IATROGENIC) PROBLEMS

A criticism of medical training is that specialisation has led to each specialist tending to adopt a tunnel-vision approach. Thus, anaesthetists treat chronic pain with nerve blocks.

Surgeons cut nerves or remove vertebral discs, according to their special interest. Psychiatrists either use psychotherapy or tell patients they are imagining the pain. Doctors often prescribe narcotic-based, or derived, drugs.This carries the consequent risks of drug toxicity,addiction and other complications. The result has often been hopelessness, disappointment, frustration and anger by patients, their families and for that matter the whole community.

The hope is that further education will lead to earlier referral to an appropriate treatment centre and so prevent many such problems.

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