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Are Lafayette pain specialists inundated with patients?

Is it getting more difficult to get pain pills from your family doctor? A local family physician says that's likely.

Posted: May. 31, 2018 5:46 PM
Updated: May. 31, 2018 5:47 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Dr. Joshua Krumenacker with Franciscan Network in Crawfordsville said only about one percent of his patients are on opioids.

Krumenacker said he and lots of other family doctors are referring more people to pain specialists.

"Imagine you have an office where everybody from multiple cities, counties around are referring to your office for people that have been taking opioids, high dose opioids for many years," said Krumenacker.

This could be why some pharmacies have stopped filling Lafayette Dr. Robert Bigler's prescriptions. Bigler is one of the top pain medication prescribers in the state.

Krumenacker wouldn't talk about Bigler specifically, but in general, he said he thinks pain specialists are doing the best they can.

"Pain Management Specialist Clinics are inundated with patients that have been taking opioids for many, many years so, it's difficult," said Krumenacker.

Dr. Krumenacker said his generation of doctors landed into the opioid epidemic. He said the generation before was much more free in prescribing opioids. Now, they're seeking alternatives.

"Things like stretching, weight loss, good diet, physical therapy," said Dr. Krumenacker.

Some people don't want to put in the work, they'd rather take a pain pill.

"I have had patients that have told me that they will go to the street if they don't get the medication from me," said Dr. Krumenacker.

Dr. Krumenacker highly advises against street drugs. They are more dangerous now than ever. He hopes the perception of pain changes in the future.

"Pain is normal and we don't need to be afraid of it. Listen to your body. If you hurt somewhere it's telling you for some period of time at least, rest that area," said Dr. Krumenacker. "And seek help. Don't just seek medication to cover up the issue."

Dr. Krumenacker thinks the opioid epidemic will get better with time. He said new pain medication alternatives are improving every day. Patients just need to be open to them. 

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