I started taking opioid painkillers not long after my third and last child was born. Despite having had nearly four dozen broken bones in childhood due to a genetic bone disorder (osteogenesis imperfecta or OI), I struggled little with pain or functional limitations in my young adulthood. I limped and tired easily, but every day I climbed up and down stairs, cleaned and cooked, walked with a baby or two in a stroller to do errands, and cared for my young children without any more severe consequence than sore muscles and joints at bedtime.
…While opioids may not be the right treatment for all, or even most, chronic pain patients, these medications work well for me with few side effects. The simple fact that I’ve found an effective treatment allowing me to live an active life with significant disability, however, is obscured by the controversy, fear, stigma and caution that surround opioid prescribing.