The Price of Pain Relief
Last updated: September 2023
"All magic comes with a price."
Rumplestiltskin's line about magic is the most iconic in the show, Once Upon a Time, and most relatable in my battle with psoriatic arthritis and other chronic illness pain relief.
What is the price of psoriatic arthritis?
Pain relief feels like magic. Not something that is easy to come by. There is a price to pay and not just a financial one. Another cost is time lost while relieving pain when driving or doing important tasks is not possible. My pain management plan comes at the cost of losing evenings because that time is needed for it to prepare my body for bed. The magic of pain relief isn't as magical as people think, it doesn't last long, and the costs continue to increase.
How much do medications cost?
The cost of medications, both pharmaceutical and natural, can be expensive. A quick trip to the pharmacy for over-the-counter medicines can range from $10-$30 easily. For something more significant like an ointment or prescription, the costs can be upwards of hundreds of dollars per month.
Many people cannot afford these out-of-pocket costs and rely on their insurance to help cover expenses. However, even with insurance, there can be high deductibles and copays that make medications unaffordable. Natural and alternative medicines are rarely covered by insurance. The high cost of medications leads many people to skip doses or forego them altogether. This puts their health at risk and can lead to other complications down the road.
What is the stigma surrounding medications?
Another cost of taking pain-relieving medications is the stigma surrounding them. Natural remedies are often seen as more holistic and thus better for you than pharmaceutical drugs. This stigma leads many people to forego taking their medication altogether, even if it means living in pain. The negative connotations around taking medication can be discouraging for people who need it but don't want to be seen as weak or unhealthy. It's important to have open conversations about these topics so that we can destigmatize them and help those who need pain relief get access to it without judgment.
How much time is lost to relieving pain?
Finally, another cost of pain relief is time lost while relieving pain. Driving or doing essential tasks is not possible because of the pain reliever’s effect on cognitive functions, leading to missed opportunities and setbacks. This can be frustrating and disheartening, especially since we are already struggling with chronic pain.
When I am in a lot of pain, driving is not an option because it requires too much concentration. This can lead to missed doctor's appointments or picking up kids from school. Simple tasks like cooking dinner or doing laundry become impossible because standing for long periods of time is excruciating. Most days, I am able to push through the pain by taking breaks often, but there are days when even getting out of bed is too hard. On those days, I have to ask for help from family and friends, which can be frustrating and overwhelming. But what other option do I have? I either address pain or push through at levels that put everyone in danger.
Why is pain relief so costly?
Pain relief feels like magic because it has the ability to take away some of our pain instantly — at least for a little while. Despite its power, there is always a price to pay for magic — and pain relief is no different. There is the financial cost of purchasing medication, the stigma associated with taking medication, and the time lost while managing our pain instead of living our lives. These costs can seem daunting, but it's important to remember that we're not alone in this battle against chronic pain. By coming together and sharing our stories, we can help destigmatize chronic pain and make life a little bit easier for those who suffer from it every day.
Which price of relieving pain are you dealing with currently?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?