The first-line use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in general medicine.
This petition had 205 supporters
HELP = Help Eliminate Long-Term Pain
The purpose of this petition is to help eliminate the suffering of those living with long-term pain by gathering together enough like-minded people willing to sign this petition and voice their opinion about the need for integrative healthcare that includes alternative and complementary therapeutic methods to treat long-term pain sufferers.
There is strength in unity, and I know I am not the only one who has become aware of the overuse of surgery and drugs to treat chronic pain sufferers. There are highly effective alternative and complementary therapies available to help these individuals, but most physicians are not using them, and instead are relying on traditional science-based therapies, drugs, and surgery, despite the poor results they produce in far too many patients.
Not only are tradition therapies expensive, often unnecessary and/or addictive, but in far too many cases, the traditional methods are ineffective in alleviating long-term, chronic. The reason is that traditional medicine therapies only treat the symptoms, but fail to alleviate the source of debilitating pain.
Initially, I was going to title this petition “HELP Mrs. Rosa’s,” because she was the most dramatic case I have ever seen that clearly illustrate how today’s healthcare, medicine, and the social community has suffered from a severe mission drift. I will try to explain the primary causes and the solutions to correct the situation as I tell you about Mrs. Rosa.
Mrs. Rosa is a 60-year-old mother of five and grandmother of three, who was active in her church until things went terribly wrong. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but was not getting better despite being prescribed medications. Over time, she became an invalid, shriveling up into the fetal position in bed, and unable to care for herself for two years. Her dedicated husband and family cared for her 24/7,365 days a year. All of her many specialists had tried all they could to find the help she needed without success.
I first met Mrs. Rosa while she was in this pathetic and crippled state. Her husband brought her into my office after a neighbor suggested that I might be able to help. Mrs. Rosa looked like an empty shell of a lady, thin, locked up in the fetal position, as her husband lifted from her wheelchair onto my exam table. She was unable to turn herself from side to side, because her arms were useless. Mrs. Rosa realized she was dying, because she asked one of the elders in her church to give her last rites.
I was speechless, and did not know what to do. Usually, I had guidance from experience and my references, but in this case, I was bewildered. So, I gathered my tools together and applied what I had learned from my mentors to begin this journey. My tools are my hands, my acupuncture needles, and trigger point syringes.
This was the first time in my career that I had witnessed anything close to a miraculous event of the innate ability of the human body to heal with Mother Nature at the helm.
Within three months, Mrs. Rosa was turning over in bed all by herself. Six months later, she was sitting up in bed, and within 10 months, although still wobbly, she could stand with help. Then, she and her husband surprised me when they danced the two-step in my office, with him holding her steady. Today, Mrs. Rosa is independent, able to drive, and able to care for herself and her family.
What Happened in Mrs. Rosa’s Case?
The simple answer is that she was betrayed by all of us who are citizens of the United States and the world. We drifted from our duty, as did the medical associations, governmental agencies, and society as a whole.
Humanity has been Drifting Away from the Seven Heavenly Virtues: Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.
Healthcare Agencies and Practitioners have Drifted Away from the Rules of the Scientific Methods
Questioning ourselves as physicians, authorities, specialists, the AMA, and all of medical society.
Consistently observing the environment.
Gathering evidence, drawing conclusions and theories, and then rethinking again and again for confirmation.
Revealing mistakes and showing how you personally overcame these barriers. If a treatment fails, be able to discern why a treatment failed, and then correct the processes so that the treatment is successful!
Conferring with colleagues to determine if they are using the same concepts and therapies so that everyone can benefit from similar results.
Confirming that the results can be duplicated by anyone, anyplace, at any time, without the original scientist.
We, as Physicians, have Drifted Away from our Hippocratic Oaths
“First, do no harm ... To place the good of the patient at the center of my professional practice, no self-interest.... To care for all who need my help with equal concern and dedication independent of their ability to pay ... To act primarily in behalf of my patient’s best interests, and not primarily to advance social, political, or fiscal policy, or my own interests."
Thus, in Mrs. Rosa’s case, as in millions of other cases of people who suffer in pain in the USA, she was only offered traditional, science-based medicine, which is drugs and surgery.
What was the Matter with Mrs. Rosa?
She was suffering from a poorly understood disease called Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction (MFP&D). MFP&D is located in the flesh, which is made up of muscles. The fascia is a membrane that covers every muscle in the human body, including tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. When the fascia becomes injured, it creates intense, often debilitating pain that becomes chronic. Chronic Long-Term Pain (LTP) that is not treated at its source can literally wreak havoc in a person’s life, and it needs to be recognized as the scourge that it is, and then eradicated.
MFP&D has been studied and treated for millennia with many home remedies and hands-on therapies. Many “Masters of Medicine” in the last century spent well over 300 years accumulating the concepts and treatment options to reverse the primary cause of this pain. These researchers and medical professionals recognized that this type of pain is within the tissues of movement, and they treated it with therapies that were known at that time. These scientific pioneers drew inspiration from history, applied those principles, and updated their therapies based on science and technology.
What Clues Were Missed in the Case of Mrs. Rosa?
Mrs. Rosa was not getting better, but actually getting worse, despite being on the best medicines and seeing the best specialists. Her blood tests and scans did not help the situation.
She had pain all over her body, not just at the Rheumatoid Arthritis locations. Her pain included muscle spasms, tingling, stiffness of the shoulders and hip joints, and lack of strength and stamina. Her case stumped everyone.
A characteristic of Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction (MFP&D) is that it can masquerade as many traditional illnesses. So the clues, which are evident to an MFP specialist, are not properly collected or analyzed, and do not match traditional problems, leading to substandard outcomes. This leaves patients trapped, trying to find answers by going to specialist after specialist, with no solutions. They waste time, effort, incur great expense, plus they continue to live with the pain, sleepless nights, misery, disability, and eventually lose hope of ever becoming pain-free and able to lead a normal life again.
Why Did this Happen to Mrs. Rosa?
Her healthcare providers were all traditional science-based practitioners who were not trained in Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies. They were trapped in the status quo, because they were not educated in any out-of-the-box therapeutic options, but relied solely upon traditional medicine options. Unable to help her, Mrs. Rosa’s medical specialists simply gave up.
Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction (MFP&D) interfere with a person’s mind, body, spirit, sleep, wellness, and productivity. It frequently causes a great deal of concern and worry. Mrs. Rosa was trapped in a sick and toxic body, in severe pain, and thinking that she was going to die, she gave up too.
Why Were Her Providers So Unprepared?
Medicine today has unfortunately grouped Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction (MFP&D) into the same category as diseases such as cancer, infections, tumors, aneurysms, and malfunctions such as gallbladder disease. However, these diseases have very different forensic characteristics that make them visible using technologies such as biopsy, x-rays, MRIs and scans. They have a form and structure and can be confirmed with laboratory analysis, radiology scans, body fluid cultures, or with biopsies.
Unlike these diseases, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction pain is invisible, has no solid structure, is undetectable by biopsy, scans, x-ray, etc., but still must be aggressively treated just like pains caused by cancer or an infection.
Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction is the culprit in almost all long-term pain problems. Myofascial pain is located deep in the flesh, and since it has the ability to corrupt basic bodily processes, it often masquerades as a classic pain or dysfunction syndrome associate with other diseases. Thus, it is often misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly with drugs and/or surgery.
What Therapy was used in Mrs. Rosa’s Case?
Myofascial Release Therapy (MFRT) should include a holistic approach and cover the whole body, mind, and spirit, as well as a patient’s social, mental, and linguistic aspects. The tools needed for the therapy are the patient, the provider, the therapist, the counselors, the social service providers, the family, the job, a flexible healthcare system, and the freedom of all parties to assist the patients, in order for the outcome to be positive. The equipment is all low-tech, because MFP&D cannot be surgically “fixed” or medicated, and the pain it will not go away all by itself.
Why did She Improve with the Therapy Handed Down from the Past “Masters of Medicine?”
The mantra is: All pain is valid to the patient, has a cause, which must be found, assumed to be in the flesh or MF tissues until proven otherwise, and must be aggressively and effectively treated with the appropriately matched therapeutic tools.
Myofascial Release Therapies should be visualized in a recipe and on a spectrum from stretching at home to very intensive maybe in a specialized setting. The recipe will address the mind, body and spirit, social and emotion aggravating factors. All components are in the mix, all-inclusive, and should match the level of density of the tissues that are affected. The treatment of MFP&D is simplistic, although it must be done using a consistent, aggressive, and systematic approach.
Vital to a successful outcome is to place the patient in charge of the team. They are the sole purveyor of this pain and must be the leader of the team to guide all in the proper directions. Ideally, therapy should be commanded by the patient on an “as needed” basis, and administered as frequently as needed to remain pain-free.
In mild cases, one can manage with self-care wellness, magnesium supplementation, simple stretching, yoga, massage, traction or inversions, Rolfing, Active Tissue Release, John F. Barnes Myofascial Unwinding, and Chiropractic adjustments.
If needed, therapy must be stepped-up to acupuncture, myofascial acupuncture, and all other various types, including dry needling and C. Chan Gunn MD-Intramuscular Stimulation. The most aggressive in this group of therapies are protocoles established by Janet G. Travell MD and Richard Simons MD; Edward S. Rachlin, MD and George S. Hackett, MD hypodermic needling, and various other Bio/Prolo/Neural hypodermic injections.
Why Don’t We Make the Changes Needed to Rescue Others and Keep this from Happening Again?
The treatment of MFP&D is simplistic, although it must be done in a consistent, aggressive, and systematic approach. In my opinion, treatment for this disease needs to be taught in medical school and through continuing education classes, because without this training and knowledge, providers can easily become confused and bewildered when confronted with a patient’s chronic pain symptoms. Traditional practitioners need to learn about MFP&D, learn to clarify the definitions of pain, learn to use the tools, learn about the resources and barriers related to this much-needed therapy.
The goals of pain-relief therapies are to restore well-being, trust, and integrity of the patient’s system, decrease the need for back, knee, hip, and shoulder surgeries, decrease failed outcomes, and suppress other secondary and tertiary effects of the disease properly. All of this will not only improve treatment outcomes for patients, but will also help control the rising cost of healthcare. Additionally, we have to remove the barriers, which are “stubbornness” from the establishment and naysayers who have negative ulterior motives.
Who is to Blame for Shelving and Ignoring Effective Pain Treatment Therapies?
I blame the policy makers and shortsighted administrative bodies such as the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the profiteers who benefit from the sale of prescription drugs and surgeries.
The reasons for this poor state of affairs are simple when broken down into smaller parts, but can be overwhelming and deceiving when all are set into action. The following are some of the things that need to be changed to improve our treatment of chronic long-term pain:
Misrepresenting the treatment of muscle and skeletal pain by treating it with traditional therapies alone. Muscle and connective tissue pain is in the “flesh” and is thus invisible to technology, so it must be treated differently using alternative and complementary therapeutic methods.
Allowing the insurance companies, Worker’s Compensation and liability claims to demand irrefutable proof of pain in the form of scans, x-rays and MRIs. This concept is false, flawed, and should not be weighed more than the solemn word of the patient’s testimony.
I call this making the patient’s word “worth less” and valuing technology over an individual’s own experience, and thus worthless which will squash the human spirit.
Promoting surgery to amputate and rearrange muscles, tendons and ligaments instead of promoting recovery and restoration therapy.
Promoting conflicts of interest.
No effective feedback loop to the FDA exists to inform them about these poor outcomes.
Ignoring the innate God-given ability of nature to heal the human body.
Disallowing, or not covering, the costs of alternative and/or complementary therapies, and not offering patients these solution choices that have the ability to eliminate pain and restore function.
Actively seeking out alternative medical providers to be punished, disparaged, fined, and condemned for using the art and wisdom of past providers to help those who have failed today’s medicine.
Shunning those treatments discovered by the Masters of Medicine half a century ago.
There is presently no one in charge to oversee and uphold the integrity of medicine, science and humanity.
The treatment of muscle and skeletal pain can be viewed on a spectrum from simple massage, stretching, and the use of heat, to professional massage, chiropractic care, active tissue release, myofascial release, myofascial unwinding, and on to more invasive therapies that include variations of needle therapy. Needle therapy also can be viewed on a spectrum from simple acupuncture, to Gunn IMS, to Travell/Simons wet and dry needling, and many other types of effective injection therapies. The type of therapy used depends on each patient’s specific pain issue.
According to numerous reports, approximately, 600,000 people in the United States undergo spine surgery each year. Recent surveys reveal that 30 to 40 percent of these patients experience some form of postoperative complications. In addition to the high costs involved and residual pain, in many of these patients, their mental well-being was also compromised because of the disappointment that came after surgery failed to relieve, or in some cases, intensified, their debilitating pain symptoms.
An article written in 2001 titled, Failed Back Syndrome: The Disturbing Statistics clearly demonstrates that physicians have been aware of the fact that rehabilitation that focuses on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments is more effective for back pain than surgery for many years.
Back in 2001, Dr. Rosomoff, Medical Director of the Comprehensive Pain and Rehabilitation Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, said, “Backs don’t fail. Doctors do.” He argued, “The reason for failed back syndrome, defined by some as persistent pain after surgery or other interventions, often happens because initial patient evaluations are not complete. The source of the pain, in most cases, is not from the spine and surrounding nerves, but rather from the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the anatomy.”
The Power of Committed People Can Improve Healthcare.
It is easy for agencies and medical practitioners who ignore the value of alternative and complementary therapies to continue to do so, because unnecessary drugs and surgeries are big businesses that create big profits. This all too common practice of withholding effective alternative and complementary therapeutic treatment modalities from patients just because they are not considered “traditional medicine” will continue unless we protest this practice.
People have a right to know that proven alternative and complementary therapies exist outside of the traditional medicine methods that rely on drugs and surgery. And, these unique and available treatments can effectively eliminate and/or significantly alleviate long-term pain without the need for surgery or addictive drugs.
Your signature on this petition will help me, and all others who believe that people have a right to have access to integrative healthcare practices that include alternative and complementary therapies. They have a right to know about, and be referred for, treatments available, outside the traditional medicine model, that treat the source of chronic, long-term pain effectively and safely.
In order to create the kind of positive healthcare changes that are needed to provide patients with more than just traditional therapies that often fail, I need your signature. Please join me in this quest to improve healthcare for every American by signing this petition today. And, thank you for your support!
Stephen S. Rodrigues, MD
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