Shakespeare Asked… So Here’s the Answer

Shakespeare waxed lyrical about “what’s in a name?” and of late, the Bard’s question has been very present in my mind. I’m not actually thinking about the name our clinic does business under, Arizona Pain Treatment Centers, but rather the name given to the practice of such medicine, a pain treatment center.

What is in a name? Well certainly enough to conjure up a powerful image of the named object/business. Something to set it apart from other types of businesses/practices/objects…

Therein lies my problem with the whole “pain treatment center” name. Yes, it certainly is descriptive – but over the past couple of years a sneaky little imposter has sprung up under the same name. Stealthily growing in popularity and presence in the pain treatment business.

I’m not talking about the legitimate medical practice down the road, a practice with an ethical medical physician/nurse, or chiropractor. I’m not even talking about the practice further down the road with the doc who doesn’t seem focused or the nurse whose make up is more suited to working in an, ahem, Gentlemen’s club (to make this as G rated as possible). I’m talking about the drug dens that walk the fine line between legal and illegal, and fall into the full on unethical where possible.

You are aware of the massive prescription drug problems plaguing society and for every problem there are two solutions: An ethical one and an easy, often unethical solution.

For pain there are two options, a genuine, multidisciplinary pain clinic or a drug dispensary that masquerades under the name of a pain center.

Before I go any further I do wish to make it clear that I am not bashing anyone who uses pain medication under the watchful eye of their doctor as part of a more comprehensive treatment to reduce or control their pain. The whole, Holier than Thou thing isn’t really me, so relax.

What I do want to do is draw your attention to the vast differences between the two forms of pain clinics so that you and your entourage can make more informed choices when seeking treatment at a pain clinic.

The documentary aired on CNN “Pain Clinics or Legal Dope Houses?” about the pain clinics all over Florida made for fascinating yet disturbing viewing. Florida is the “pain clinic” capital of America and the investigation into the practices revealed the extent to which these clinics are fuelling the prescription drug epidemic sweeping the country.

These pain clinics have one function: to prescribe and supply people with pain killers such as Oxycontin and Roxycontin (amongst others). There is no real evaluation process for determining whether or not the drug seeker needs the medication. As long as the pill seeker pays cash for their consultation and pills, they leave with a replenished supply.

People leaving with that supply include pregnant women, who are playing Russian roulette with the lives and well-being of their unborn children, addicts, sometimes as young as 15, who are leaving to go and inject the drugs, dealers who will resell the pills on the street for up to 100 times their initial value…

There is absolutely no control over who gets the drugs and who doesn’t. The doctors dispensing them are not warning patients about the dangers they face in taking the drugs. These unethical men and women have a moral responsibility to help the drug seekers in front of them. Some of those people are genuinely suffering and they need real treatment and help, those who aren’t suffering physical pain need help for the emotional suffering that has resulted from addiction. These people have been failed, miserably and sometimes fatally, by the practitioners dispensing the pills.

The contrast between these-such pain clinics and genuine multidisciplinary pain clinics couldn’t be greater. Being privy to behind the scenes at AZPTC, I will explain how things are done there and you might be as flabbergasted as me that such an establishment is forced to share a name with the drug dens mentioned above.

AZPTC prizes the ethical and effective treatment of their patients. Each individual who walks through the door is treated ethically and with respect. The standard of care is to give the patient the care they truly require (as opposed to wham bam thank you ma’am, that’ll be $200 and here are your drugs).

As medication is one facet of pain management, the doctors at AZPTC are trained to recognize drug seeking behavior, to look for signs of drug abuse and to carry out random urinalysis to detect illicit substances and insure the patient is actually taking their meds appropriately.
Patients are offered the most effective treatment plan for their individual condition with the goal of reducing their medication whilst simultaneously achieving long term relief from their pain by treating the root cause.

A patient coming to AZPTC has access to the most cutting edge treatment in pain management, they are seen by a whole team of specialists who work to bring the best combination of treatments available. This might include muscle work/manual medicine or something more high tech like a spinal cord stimulator.

A standard of care is just that, the patient has to be truly cared for. That means tough love at times, giving the patient what is truly best for them in the long run, as opposed to a quick fix of opiates.

It is frightening to me to think of the drug dens masquerading as pain clinics and the confusion that it creates in people’s minds. How sad it would be for someone to miss out on the care they genuinely need because they equate pain treatment centers with legal drug dispensaries, or even worse, for someone genuinely seeking help for their pain, to end up at such a place and to walk away with a bottle of pills that will start a vicious downward spiral resulting in more pain, addiction or even worse. Remember, these drugs can be lethal.

So Shakespeare, what’s in a name? In this case, the dire need for clarification! Even if it takes me the rest of my life, I will make darn sure that everyone I encounter knows beyond any doubt that Arizona Pain Treatment Centers are the real deal and that our owner and physicians have devoted their professional lives to setting a higher standard for the treatment of their patients.