Bend Spine &
Pain Specialists

929 SW Simpson Ave.
Suite 250
Bend, OR 97702


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Neuropathic Pain

Pain Medications


Narcotic Pain Medications
Impact of chronic pain
Welcome to Bend Spine and Pain Specialists.  We understand the impact that chronic pain has on your life.  A typical chronic pain patient has seen several physicians before coming to us.  Often a patient will have had several expensive imaging studies already, but still no answers.  Many unfortunate patients have already undergone spine surgery and still there is pain.  Why can’t someone just figure out this pain and fix it?  Many patients ask this question.   

Feeling daily pain is an isolating   experience.  Most of us can put up with intermittent pain, but when pain becomes a daily experience, our mood becomes anxious, angry or depressed.  The pain becomes a nagging distraction that prevents us from focusing at work, reduces our important life activities, and impacts our sleep.  Because pain changes our mood and our activities, spouses and friends are also affected.

The meaning of pain
Why do we experience pain?  Pain is a protective mechanism to reduce our chance of dying from traumatic injuries.  Pain gives us a chance to withdraw from an injurious situation.  If we become injured, then pain motivates us to escape from a potentially life threatening situation.  Afterwards, pain subdues our activity so that we can heal from the injury.  There is a genetic mutation in humans where no pain is felt.  These people rarely survive childhood due to infection from wounds that are not attended to. 

Physicians are taught to view pain as a sign of disease.  The pain points to some kind of tissue damage, and doctors expect the location of the pain to correspond to where the damage is.  We assume that the intensity of the pain is related to the severity of the damage.  Most of the time, this reasoning is correct.  However there are conditions where pain is unrelated to tissue damage or treatable disease. 

What about narcotic pain medications?
Narcotic pain medications are very useful for short term use.  When used daily for more than 1-2 months, these medications cause several problems.  These medications change how our nervous systems work.  They cause tolerance which is the loss of effectiveness of the medication.  The usual doses of pain relief medications become ineffective.  This is a huge problem if someone on these drugs needs to have surgery or emergency treatment of an injury.   These medications cause dependency which is defined by the withdrawal syndrome, the unpleasant feeling of trying to get off these drugs that addicts suffer.  Narcotic pain medications can increase the sensitivity of the central nervous system to pain (opioid induced hyperalgesia).   That’s right, addictive narcotic pain medicines can cause increased pain! 

The consequence is that the long term user of these medications must always have a supply available to them.  These properties of all opioid narcotic pain medications have the effect of making the user a slave to the drug.  The only real difference between a heroin addict and a chronic narcotic pain medication user is the doctor’s prescription.  The #1 drug problem in America today is the abuse of narcotic pain medications.  The DEA must turn its attention away from foreign drug cartels and look more closely at people’s medicine cabinets.  Diversion is getting these drugs without a prescription.  Sharing prescription medications with someone else is illegal. 

Our policy at Bend Spine and Pain Specialists is to minimize the need for narcotic pain medications by providing pain relief through interventional techniques.  No new patient will receive a narcotic prescription at the first office visit.  All patients on these medications must have another primary care physician. They are subject to routine drug screening and they must sign an opioid contract which defines the rules for being prescribed these controlled medications.

Our approach to Pain Management
We treat patients with chronic back and neck pain, pain after spine surgery, sciatica, and other chronic pain conditions.  We are not alternative medicine.  We are an advanced medical subspecialty practice.  Dr Ford is a Board Certified specialist in anesthesiology and pain management.  His 15 year background in anesthesiology and Fellowship training in pain management makes him ideally suited to provide interventional treatments for pain.   

Intervention means using tiny needles under live x-ray guidance to inject medications in specific areas of the nervous system to diagnose and treat painful conditions.  We try to achieve a balance between the use of non-addictive pain medications, injection therapy, nerve destruction techniques, spinal cord stimulation and exercise to achieve as much pain relief and function as possible.  We strive to be compassionate and aggressive with our conservative approaches to managing pain.  Most patients can be helped, even when other doctors have given up.

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