By Wire News Sources on January 11, 2009
By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News
Teenager Jaimee Mallion has written to thank doctors who finally helped her cope with chronic pain that blighted her life.
Jaimee had experienced a series of falls at ice skating and gymnastics when she was 13.
It took her two years before she was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome – a condition that develops after an injury, and continues even after it has healed
But it was not until she met Dr Richard Howard at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, that she got the help she needed.
Jaimee said: “Great Ormond Street was the last resort”.
But she added it was a turning point, with staff treating her with pain killers and physiotherapy as well as being taught pain management techniques.
Jaimee’s mother Andrea explained that few doctors had previously believed the teenager’s back and leg pains were real.
“She had been taken into hospital and had some investigations, but they were not very helpful.
“As soon as Dr Howard saw her he said ‘I believe you’ and that was a great relief”
“Eventually she was referred to another hospital to a pain clinic and they discovered a stress facture in the spine, hypermobility (extreme flexibility) and complex regional pain.
“She had gone from being incredibly active to not being able to walk.”
It took two years before local specialists diagnosed Jamiee’s condition.
“Along the way we were actually told that she was making it up, that she was not in pain,” said Andrea.
“It put an awful lot of pressure on Jaimee, and on the family.”
She said the experience has left her daughter scarred.
“She has developed a bit of a phobia about doctors.
“Jamiee is more than happy to go to GOSH or her GP, but when she has to see anyone other than them she is very nervous because she thinks they will not believe her.
“Over the last month she has been in casualty about five times with dislocations. Every time we go we see a different doctor, and not one of them has known what complex regional pain syndrome is.”
Dr Howard, a consultant in anaesthesia and pain management, said Jaimee’s experiences were not uncommon.
“It is not infrequent that children with this kind of condition feel disbelieved.
“That’s often because the clinicians who see them are not sure what is wrong and somehow manage to convey a feeling that maybe it is not something real.
“I think it is a lot to do with confusion about the diagnosis and the uncertainty and the children feel they do not believe what they are saying.
“We are experienced in dealing with this type of condition, which is quite rare and even paediatricians working in the community might never see a case of this or might only see one or two in their whole career.
This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation