Monday, December 24, 2007

Houston Pain Clinics

With great urgency, the Houston news machine has been churning out stories about the area’s pain management clinics. First “breaking” with “Are Some Houston Pain Clinics Prescription Pill Mills?” , (See the rest of the media jumped on the bandwagon. Is this “breaking news” or is it free publicity for these clinics?

Pain management clinics have been operating in Houston for years, and they will continue to operate, for as long as there is a demand, and there will always be a demand. And those that didn’t know about them before, now know not only that they exist, but the media has kindly shown us, step by step, how to obtain drugs through these clinics. Should parents of experimenting young adults be thanking the media or cursing it?

According to, the DEA is now investigating these clinics, and have suspended ONE physician license. Yet thousands have now learned of these clinics, and see them as a legal way to get illegal drugs and make some money, too.

The problem is that pain treatment is a necessary and integral part of medical management, and is a legitimate, respected, and essential field of medicine. Millions of people suffer with intractable chronic pain, preventing them from working. Many end up in poverty, on disability, and still in pain. Pain management can allow many to return to work and lead a more normal life.

The media’s focus on these pain management clinics may create awareness of a problem; however it is the wrong problem. Some of these clinic doctors may be mildly concerned about the DEA, and it is true that there are doctors that line their pockets at the expense of their patients’ health. Knock them down and another doc-in-the-box will just pop up.

Rather than stigmatizing and prejudicing all pain management practices, the media should give equal time to those clinics that are legitimately practicing chronic pain medicine, that combine state of the art medicine with social support.