“The pain was always there”, the evil that medicine tries to mitigate

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Lima, Aug 27 (EFE).- Sport was for Stephanie Fahmel, as for many, the way to escape from daily stress; however, one day everything changed with an untimely sprain that caused damage that was always present. Like many other Latin Americans, she suffered from chronic pain, an illness that medicine seeks to reverse or mitigate.

“That pain was always there and was part of my normal life,” Fahmel explains to Efe, who recalls that, having dinner with friends, working or simply sleeping, the pain was constant.

It all started in 2014 and he no longer even remembers the exact moment it became everyday. He then began a journey of doctors, treatment and medicine that led him to undergo more than 100 physiotherapy sessions.

A day came when the fifth doctor he went to referred him to a neurologist, they “totally changed his treatment” because they assured that it was not something physical.

The frustration was constant and she came to doubt herself: “It kept hurting me and I no longer understood if it was my imagination, I came to think that my pain threshold was very low.”

“After several doctors and several years (with treatment), I even didn’t like to talk about it because it seemed like I was making dramas,” he stresses.

In the meantime, he remembers that, in his worst stages, “he couldn’t even sleep well.”

“Having the sheet over me hurt, some shoes felt like they squeezed me a lot, although the other foot didn’t squeeze me,” he explains.

He suffered from chronic pain, a disease that is diagnosed when it persists for more than three months and is always present. A disease that is estimated to affect between 27% and 42% of the Latin American population, according to the Latin American Federation of Associations for the Study of Pain (Fedelat).

To advance in its knowledge and treatment, in which it is essential to approach each case differently, the XIV Latin American Congress of Pain was held this week in Lima, where experts from all over the continent shared experiences.

In Fahmel’s case, the treatment she needed came with the seventh doctor who treated her, a doctor who operated on her ankle, and while the pain didn’t go away immediately, it did gradually.

“Normalizing the pain was the hardest thing, one stops talking about it because not even my mom believed me anymore,” she still remembers today, when the ills begin to be a distant memory.


Dr. Ana Cristina King was that seventh doctor, who changed Fahmel’s life.

For her, “patients with chronic pain are very special” because they have been with their disease for a long time and have already consulted with several specialists.

“They are difficult patients because many times they have lost confidence in what the doctor tells them. They spend months, sometimes years, trying to find a cause for the pain they have and they have not succeeded, so many times they come to the consultation and walk through the door already defeated,” he explains.

For this reason, the task begins with the work of earning her trust: “With Stephanie this was part of the matter, she had had pain in her ankle for four years and, everything she said” she answered with a no.

To end his pain, he had “several points of view”. She is an orthopedist, but “many times” she is helped by other specialists such as rehabilitation doctors.

His work is fundamental since, as he explains, he is aware that “one thing that you could almost overlook in a consultation is that it changes the life of the patient”.

“You could ignore the localized pain and you could ignore the other part of your problem (…) It is very gratifying when you put together your treatment and see how the problems are solved,” he concludes.

Thanks to this treatment, Fahmel’s life changed. She came out of the statistic that indicates that more than 80% of chronic pain patients in the world are facing inadequate management of their disease and regain life from it.

(c) EFE Agency