Evil weed or useful drug?

The pros and cons of medical marijuana

Marcy Duda, a former home health aide with four children and two granddaughters, never dreamed she’d be publicly touting the medical benefits of “pot.”

When pain arrives – and help does not

I never knew such pain existed.

This past spring, my neck suddenly went bonkers — a long-lurking arthritic problem probably exacerbated by hunching over my new laptop.

Expensive Arthritis Pills Have Not Lived Up to the Hype

Seduced by hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising, Americans spend $6 billion a year for the arthritis pain-killers Vioxx and Celebrex, said to be as good as over-the-counter drugs — and easier on the stomach.

The Science of Pain (This is the second of a two part column on pain)

Dr. Darlyne Johnson, 46, an obstetrician-gynecologist at South Shore Hospital in S. Weymouth, MA. is no stranger to pain – and not just the pain of other women having babies.

Over the years, Johnson has had surgery, and each time, wound up with such terrible nausea and vomiting from painkillers that she had to stay in the hospital overnight.

The Politics of Pain (This is the first of a two part column on pain)

America is seriously schizophrenic about controlling chronic pain, which afflicts more than 50 million people and costs the country $100 billion a year.

So, on the one hand, we grossly under-treat it: Management of chronic pain and the pain of dying patients is arguably the most egregiously neglected field of medicine.

Chronic pain often goes untreated because some doctors don’t believe their patients

James Murphy is only 26, but some days, he can hardly get out of bed.

Three years ago, Murphy, a North Easton man who used to fix power tools for a living, damaged a disc in his back lifting a steel workbench. The injury allowed the jelly-like material that cushions vertebrae to ooze out and press on a nerve. Pain raged through his lower back and shot down his right leg.

Women do have more pain, but they cope

Jean Cummings, a 38-year-old urban policy analyst from Cambridge, lives in almost constant pain.

Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago, she’s had two hip replacements and will have both knees replaced in June, right after her wedding.

Migraine – New drugs offer the best hope yet

It was June, 1996 and Dr. Michael Cutrer, head of the headache unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, was hard at work as usual in his sixth floor lab in Charlestown.

Follow the ‘rule of 3’s’ on back pain

Annie Baehr, who works at the Berklee College of Music, figures she has struggled with back pain for nearly 40 of her 55 years.

Painkillers often take toll on stomach

Gabriel Belt, 66, a retired Brookline accountant, figured he was doing the smart thing by taking an aspirin every other day.

Both his father and brother had died of cardiovascular problems in their sixties and he knew aspirin could reduce his own risk. He also figured that if he took the aspirin only every other day and took a type that was enteric-coated to protect his stomach, he should have no problems.Wrong.