Living With Polio

Pain and the Pain Patch

Frederick Maynard, MD, retired physiatrist

Pain control in people with postpolio problems is highly individualized because there is no one source of pain. I would NOT endorse the use of a Duragesic patch (fentanyl transdermal system) for long-existing pain in a person with PPS because I think it is a “dead end” in regard to long lasting relief from pain.

It is probably safe but can lead to dependency and less tolerance and awareness of pains that it is helpful to be aware of (so the pains can be “honored and have actions taken on.”)

I would definitely have a comprehensive evaluation by a “post-polio expert or clinic” before trying to merely “suppress your awareness of pain” by using a Duragesic patch. There are many alternatives. Maybe “giving up” regular walking and using a scooter for usual mobility would lead to a major reduction in pain levels. A thorough evaluation may tell you that and/or other alternatives.

PHI’s Post-Polio Directory  of clinical resources for post-polio survivors can help you locate regional options for an evaluation by a post-polio rehabilitation and pain control physician, preferably a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Tags for this article:
Medical Help
Polio Doctors